Abusive Debt Collection.
There are federal and state laws meant to protect consumers from debt collection harassment.
The statutes, the Fair Debt Collection Practice Act (FDCPA) and the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (FCCPA) dictate when a creditor or debt collector may attempt to collect a debt. These laws also regulate how these attempts should be made, whom the debt collector may speak with, as well as the content of the calls and communications. When a debt collector violates these rules, for instance, by engaging in threats or other types of harassment, then that debt collector may be liable for damages to that consumer.
Although the language of the two statutes is similar, they are not an exact match. However, the main difference between the two statutes comes down to damages. Under the FDCPA, debt collectors could be liable for a consumer’s attorney’s fees, actual damages, and up to $1,000 in fines per claim. In contrast, the FCCPA allows the consumer to also seek punitive damages. If the judge or jury believes that the debt collector’s actions warrant punitive damages, then the amount a consumer could win is practically limitless.
If you've been harassed by debt collectors and creditors, we're here to help. We'll gladly review the elements of your case and determine if you should use one or both statutes to seek compensation. We're prepared to fight tooth and nail so that you are compensated justly.
Harassment. Frequent phone calls or voicemails to alleged debtors, their family, and friends, repeated calls with no messages, hang-ups, lies, misleading comments, speaking in a belittling manner, embarrassing, argumentative and rude conduct are examples of harassing conduct.
Threats. Creating a “false sense of urgency” or suggesting arrest, criminal prosecution, jail.
Contacting Third Parties. Collectors may not contact any party about a debt without the express permission of the alleged debtor, including the spouse or any other family member, neighbors, friends, or co-workers.
Proof of Debts. Debt collectors are required by federal law to send “verification and validation” of a debt when the alleged debtor in writing disputes the debt within 30 days of a debt collector’s first contact.
Collecting Money Not Owed. If an alleged debtor doesn’t owe the money it is a violation of the law for a collector to try and force the alleged debtor to pay the money.
Calls at work. Calls to the workplace, especially after a collector is told not to call, such as speaking to or leaving messages with a receptionist, calling the cell phone while an alleged debtor is at work or calling alleged debtor's direct line, is a violation.
Written Notice. Collectors must send a written notice stating the amount of the debt, the creditor to whom the debt is owed, and a statement that the debtor has 30 days to in writing dispute the debt. The collector has 30 days to get written verification and validation of the debt and must mail the verification to the consumer.
Refusing to Cease Contact. Communications including calls, voicemails, and letters, must stop once a debt collector receives a “cease and desist” letter. All cease and desist letters should be sent with return receipt requested.
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Take the first step towards a successful recovery by contacting us for a free case evaluation. When we say free, we mean exactly that. After an attorney personally listens to the details of your situation, we’ll discuss your rights and options. You won’t be obligated to use our law firm, and you’d owe us nothing for this service.
In many situations, we are able to offer to represent our clients on a “contingency fee” basis. In other words, we front all costs for your case and only collect a fee if we win. And, we work tenaciously to do that for you. We’ll help you get maximum compensation for your losses and suffering that result from violations of your rights.