Bankruptcy - Consumer Protection
Have creditors been calling you at home, at work or on your cell? Sometimes creditors in Florida will even call your neighbors. What’s worse is that some of these debt collectors can be mean and nasty. Let us help you stop them right away. Debt collectors and creditors can be humiliating and they can be embarrassing. We understand this and we are here to help you exercise your rights! Many times, these cases can be taken on a contingency basis – meaning the creditor will pay our fees, not you. Below is some useful information to help you better understand when creditors are harassing you.
A federal statute known as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (often called the “FDCPA”) and a Florida Statute known as the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (“FCCPA”) give you specific legal rights to sue debt collectors who unlawfully threaten, berate, intimidate or harass you; call you during odd hours, make false representations about the debt or their intentions, or otherwise act in ways proscribed by the act (and there are many). False statements may include threats to:
- Attach your wages when unlawful or not intended-this includes threats to take more wages that is permitted by the federal limitation;
- Contact your employer about the debt;
- Call you “everyday until the debt is paid;”
- Sell the debt to another company for the purposes of continuing collection on a time-barred debt;
- Contact neighbors about the debt;
- Contact the Department of Homeland Security about your alien status;
- Threaten imprisonment or criminal punishment;
- Report a financed vehicle as “stolen” because you missed one or more vehicle payments;
- File or threaten to file criminal bad check charges on a post dated check that the collector solicited from you;
- Immediately evict (by an agent for a landlord); lockout, or seize personal property where such relief is limited by state law;
- Sue, where no suit is intended, e.g. a collector requested “settlement prior to possible legal action” where the collection agency had no authority to sue, or to retain counsel;
- A threat implying that the collection agency has multiple employees or investigators working to collect the debt, where only one or two people work for the agency.
- Collect or sue for “collection costs,” “attorney’s fees,” interest not pre-agreed to in excess of that allowed by statute, “fines,” or any other fee in excess of the actual amount due, unless the original agreement provides for the amount the collector threatens to collect.
- Add “collection costs, attorney’s fees” and similar additional charges have also been held to be deceptive and misleading, because they do not state exactly what debt is being sought.
- Sue or bring any kind of legal action where the threat is not followed through (i.e. a scare tactic), or any number or other threats designed to demoralize, humiliate, degrade; embarrass or intimidate a debtor into payment.
- Or any threat where the collector says he is legal counsel or an attorney/lawyer when he is not;
- Or a threat or attempt to mislead a debtor that a claim will be transferred to an attorney or separate department of a collector (e.g. “This will be transferred to our legal department for further action”).