Florida debt collection lawyers, Weidner Law, are experienced in going to bat for anyone who is being taken advantage of by unscrupulous debt collectors. There is one thing that really bothers the lawyers at Weidner Law, though, and that’s debt collectors pursuing our military members on active duty. That’s why today, Florida debt collection lawyer, Matt Weidner, is sharing everything you need to know about debt collection and active duty.
Florida Debt Collection Lawyer Covers Debt Collection on Active Duty
Poor credit and excessive debt are a problem for everyone, but for military members, they can pose even more problems including failure to obtain necessary security clearances. That said, however, when you are an active military member, being deployed sometimes means that complications occur causing your payments to be late. As anyone who has ever made a late payment on any type of credit can tell you, debt collectors are generally not forgiving when it comes to late payments, but if you are an active service military member, it’s important to know that you have special rights when it comes to debt collection and you shouldn’t be afraid to stand up for those rights.
So, what do you need to know?
Military Aid Societies
Firstly, it’s important to know that as a member of the military, if you are in dire financial straits, you can always turn to military financial aid societies. These societies are designed to help you avoid using organizations with predatory lending practices like those payday loan companies. But, what should you know if you have already surpassed the usefulness of this information?
Postponement of Debts
The most important thing for you to be aware of as an active military member is that laws exist that allow active military personnel to postpone debt payments. Titled the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), this law was enacted to relieve the burden of debts on active members of the U.S. military by allowing the postponement of a range of debts until after their active duty is concluded. Active duty can also include full-time training.
When active military members have postponed their debts under the SCRA it is illegal for debt collectors to pursue debt collection for these debts and any debt collector who attempts to collect on them is a fair target for prosecution.
If a Debt Collector Violates the SCRA
If a debt collector violates the SCRA and attempts to collect a debt that has been postponed through SCRA, you may seek legal recourse, however, you are only permitted to seek that recourse within a specified period. You have one year from the date that the debt collector violated the SCRA to file a case against them. You should also file a formal complaint against that debt collector with your state attorney general and the federal trade commission.
It’s important to note, though, that even if you win a case against a debt collector who has violated the SCRA, you are still liable for the debts that were postponed through the SCRA, but the debt collector may be forced to pay you damages as well as court costs and attorney fees for the SCRA violation lawsuit.
What About Non-Postponed Debts?
If you are a military member and have debts that have not been postponed, it’s important to familiarize yourself with The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. This act outlines exactly how a debt collector may pursue a debt that they believe that you owe. Violations of this act may be prosecuted, so it’s necessary to know what type of practices are and are not permitted so that you can stand up for your rights.
Creditors Can Contact Third Parties But Only For Contact Information
As much as we like to think that creditors are not permitted to contact others about our debts, they can. By law, a debt collector may contact a third party with the express intention of obtaining information to contact you. This contact is generally limited to a one-time contact during which the debt collector will ask for your contact information, but they may not reveal any information about your account with them or your debt.
The only people who a debt collection agent can speak with legally about your account is you, your attorney, or your spouse. According to current FDCPA guidelines, the spouse of a debtor is considered to be the same entity as the debtor themselves.
Military Debt and Military Wage Garnishment
In cases where you are found to owe a specific debt to a creditor and payments on that debt are not protected by the SCRA, income may be garnished until the debt that is owed has been paid in full. That said, there are specific types of income that cannot be garnished and that include all military pay. Other types of income that are not permitted to be garnished to repay a debt include:
- Veterans benefits
- Compensation for injury, death or detention of employees of U.S. contractors outside the U.S.
- Civil service retirement pay
- Military and merchant seaman pay
- FEMA payments
- Railroad retirement pay
- Military pensions
- Student assistance
- Longshoremen and harbor workers death and disability benefits
- Social Security and SSI benefits
If a debt collection agency is threatening to garnish any of the income sources listed above unlawfully, it’s imperative that you contact a consumer rights lawyer like Weidner Law.
Do You Need a Florida Debt Collection Lawyer on Your Side?
If you need a Florida debt collection lawyer to stand up for your rights or the rights of your active service military member, Weidner Law would be honored to serve as your representation. To find out more about how we can help you or your active service military member, pick up the phone and give us a call today at 727-954-8752.