DEBT COLLECTION CONSUMER PROTECTION LAWS

HOW DO CONSUMER LAWS PROTECT ME?

Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

The federal government enacted the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) to protect consumers against aggressive and disrespectful debt collectors. The act creates guidelines that debt collectors must follow in conducting their business, defines the rights of consumers involved in claims subject to debt collectors, and provides penalties for the unscrupulous debt collectors who harass and annoy consumers.
Violations of the FDCPA can be broken into two general categories: (1) Abusive Behavior (harassing, oppressive, or abusive), and (2) Deceptive Behavior (misrepresentation and unfair practices).

Examples of Abusive Behavior

  • Calling at all hours of the night. As a general rule, debt collectors are not allowed to call a debtor between the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
  • Using obscene or offensive language in communications with a debtor
  • Repeated contact with a debtor with the intent to annoy, abuse, or harass
  • Publishing a debtor’s name in a deadbeat list
  • Failure to cease communication with debtor upon written request to do so
  • Communicating with a debtor at their place of employment

Examples of Deceptive Behavior

  • Threatening arrest or legal action when it is not actually permitted
  • Falsely representing the amount of debt, type of debt, or status of debt
  • Report false information about a consumer’s credit
  • Falsely claim to be an attorney or associated with a government entity
  • Failure to cease communication with debtor upon written request to do so
  • Use deceptive means to collect or attempt to collect a debt

Florida Consumer Collection Practice Act

The Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (FCCPA) is the Florida counterpart to the FDCPA. This consumer protection statute is more expansive than the federal act (FDCPA) and in some cases, provides greater levels of consumer protection. The FCCPA attempts to level the playing field by providing consumers which redress for violations by debt collectors and creditors. It also requires that consumers receive notice of the transfer of a debt prior to an action to collect a debt, so that consumers no longer have to guess who is collecting the debt against them.

Examples of Prohibitive Activities under the FCCPA:

  • Calling at all hours of the night. As a general rule, debt collectors are not allowed to call a debtor between the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
  • Communicate with any debtor if the collector or creditor knows or should know that said debtor is represented by an attorney.
  • Use or threaten force or violence.
  • Repeated contact with a debtor with the intent to annoy, abuse, or harass
  • Publishing a debtor’s name in a deadbeat list
  • Falsely claim to be an attorney or associated with a government entity
  • Communicate with a consumer’s employer without permission.
  • Using obscene or offensive language in communications with a debtor
  • Publish or threaten to publish a “deadbeat list”.
  • Attempt to collect an illegitimate debt when the collector or creditor knows that said right does not exist.
  • Refuse to identify himself, his employer, or whom he represents if requested to do so by a debtor.
  • Mail any envelope or postcard with words typed, written, or printed on the outside of the envelope or postcard calculated to embarrass the debtor. I.e., Deadbeat.

Weidner Law Difference

At Weidner Law, P.A., protecting consumers is our top priority. We file lawsuits and claims against creditors and take the offensive. We uniquely understand the plight of consumers as we have handled hundreds of cases involving foreclosure, debt collection, and consumer harassment cases. We fight, not only to protect consumers from harassment, but to obtain money judgments for our clients against banks, debt collectors, and creditors.

Abusive Debt Collection Doesn’t Pay

If a debt collector or creditor violates the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act or the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act a Court may allow damages to be paid to the consumer of up to $1,000.00 plus attorney’s fees and costs.