St. Petersburg Credit Harassment Attorneys
Expert Florida Lawyers For Resolving Debt Collection Issues
Are you receiving calls or collection letters from creditors or debt collectors? If so, do not feel bad. You are not alone. Almost everyone in the United States has some form of debt, whether it is through a home mortgage, credit cards, student loans, a car loan, or medical bills.
At some point in life, it is almost inevitable to fall behind or forget about paying one of your debts. For example, do you make your mortgage payment on the first of the month? No? Many banks will begin to call you in an attempt to collect the mortgage payment after the first of the month even though the majority of home mortgages allow for a 14-day grace period to make the payment. In many cases, these calls are illegal.
ST. PETERSBURG ILLEGAL DEBT COLLECTION PRACTICES
There are laws that apply to what a creditor and debt collector can and cannot do legally in attempting to collect a debt in Florida. The first is a federal statute named the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”). The second federal statute is named the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (‘TCPA”). The last one is a state statute known as the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (“FCCPA”).
These laws are not just “cease and desist” laws, they actually give consumers standing to sue creditors and debt collectors when they cross the line by attempting to collect a debt from you either through harassing phone calls or collection letters.
FLORIDA CREDITOR HARASSMENT LAWS
There are three mains statutes that protect consumers from creditor harassment and other unfair debt collection practices:
- FDCPA– The FDCPA is the federal statute which governs third-party debt collectors. Debt collectors are third party companies that either purchase your debt from an original creditor or are hired to collect your debt on behalf of an original creditor.
- FCCPA– The FCCPA is Florida’s statute which governs a “person” in an attempt to collect a debt from consumers. “Persons” include original creditors and debt collectors. An important distinction between the FDCPA and the FCCPA is the FCCPA provides more protection to consumers because it allows them to sue not only third-party debt collectors but also original creditors.
- TCPA– The TCPA is a federal statute which governs original creditors and debt collectors who use an automated telephone dialing system (“ATDS”) to call a consumer’s cell phone without consent. ATDS calls are more commonly known as “robo calls” or robotic calls.
COMMON TYPES OF FEDERAL AND STATE LAW VIOLATIONS
- Calling before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
- Calling your job
- Calling after you have asked them to stop
- Calling after you have informed them you have an attorney
- Placing pre-recorded, computerized, or robotic calls to your cell phone without consent
- Trying to collect more than is owed on a debt
- Saying they will garnish your wages or seize your property
- Discussing your debt with third parties
- Using profane or insulting language
LAWSUIT REMEDIES AND AWARDS
FDCPA– If a debt collector violates the FDCPA, a consumer is entitled up to $1,000 in statutory damages, and any actual damages. In addition, the debt collector is responsible for the consumer’s attorneys’ fees. Therefore, a consumer will NEVER have any out-of-pocket expenses.
FCCPA– If an original creditor or debt collector violates the FCCPA, a consumer is entitled up to $1,000 in statutory damages, actual damages, and punitive damages. In addition, the person is responsible for the consumer’s attorneys’ fees. Again, a consumer will NEVER have any out-of-pocket expenses.
TCPA– If an original creditor or debt collector violates the TCPA, a consumer is entitled to $500 to $1,500 per call.
ARE YOU BEING HARASSED?
Unfortunately, the majority of people are unaware there are laws that protect consumers from unfair debt collection practices. Further, these laws mandate attorneys’ fees shall be paid for by the debt collector or creditor if they are found in violation of the FDCPA or FCCPA.
In other words, a consumer will NEVER have to pay Berkowitz & Myer for attorneys’ fees or any out-of-pocket expenses.
Anyone who finds themselves being harassed by a creditor or debt collector should contact Berkowitz & Myer at their St Petersburg office by calling (727) 344-0123 or by completing the form on this page. Call or click today and get the creditors out of the way.