Have you recently changed your cell phone number? Maybe you have a common last name, such as “Smith” or “Jones”? Maybe a collector is looking for someone you may know? These are some examples of why you could receive collection calls intended for someone else. Many times, these calls will continue even after you advise the collector that you are not the intended party, you don’t know the intended party, or you don’t know the location of the intended party. So, how do you stop these annoying calls, and what remedies do you have if they continue?
Law & Remedies
Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”), if a debt collector contacts a person who isn’t responsible for the debt, they have potentially violated the statute. See Drossin v. Nat’l Action Fin. Servs., Inc., 255 F.R.D. 608 (S.D. Fla. 2009). For example, if a debt collector contacts a person more than once, looking for another person, they have violated the FDPCA. See 15 U.S.C. §1692b(3). Further, if a debt collector continues attempting to collect a debt from a person who is not responsible for it, and that person requests them to stop, they have violated the FDCPA. See 15 U.S.C. §1692d(5). The same applies to creditors attempting to collect debts from the wrong person in Florida. Under the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (“FCCPA”), creditors cannot continue to call you and attempt to collect the debt if you are not responsible for it. See Desmond v. Accounts Receivable Management, Inc., 72 So.3d 179, 180–81 (Fla. 2d DCA 2011). Many debt collectors and creditors will ignore these statutes because they may not believe you, or they failed to remove your number from their system. Either way, if the calls continue, you are entitled to up to $1,000 in statutory damages, any actual damages, attorney’s fees and costs.
What Do I Do Next Time They Call?
Simple- tell them the truth and demand they stop calling. Next, you need to find a consumer protection attorney because you may already have a case against the debt collector or creditor who called you. Make sure you do your research when searching for a consumer protection attorney. Many attorneys claim they are experienced in this area of the law, but in reality, they simply “dabble” in it. Any knowledgeable consumer protection attorney will tell you the most important aspect of these types of cases is documenting calls. As discussed in a previous blog, documenting calls is a must. Without proof of calls, it is hard for a consumer protection attorney to resolve your case quickly. From my experience, it goes a long way when a consumer protection attorney can provide documented proof of calls to a debt collector’s attorney.
I will review your potential case at no cost and answer any questions you may have. If you simply have a question, call or email me to discuss. I make myself available to not only clients but also anyone that wants to learn more about consumer protection laws. Feel free to email me at Jon@BerkMyer.com.