What to Do If You Are Facing Creditor Harassment

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) prevents debt collectors from harassing, oppressing, or abusing anyone they contact. Repetitive phone calls meant to annoy or abuse are considered harassment as well as the use of obscene or profane language as well as threatening violence. If you believe a debt collector is harassing you, call a creditor harassment attorney in St. Petersburg for help.

If the debt collector violates the FDCPA, you can report them. In some cases, you may be able to sue the debt collectors for violating the FDCPA. If you win your lawsuit, the collector may have to pay you damages. A creditor harassment attorney in St. Petersburg can help determine if you have a case for a lawsuit.

What is Illegal and What is Legal?

It is illegal for debt collectors to misrepresent themselves. Therefore, they cannot use deceptive, false, or misleading practices. If they misrepresent how much you owe, make false arrest threats, or present themselves as an attorney when they are not, these actions violate the FDCPA. If a debt collector communicates with you, keep a record of how they contact you and what they say.

If you are the victim of unfair debt collection practices, it is important to contact a creditor harassment attorney. You shouldn’t have to deal with multiple phone calls a day, obscene language, threats of violence, or never-ending harassment. By seeking legal assistance, you may be able to make it stop while also possible obtaining damages.

What to Do If a Debt Collector Contacts You

If you receive a call from a debt collector, remember to remain calm and collected. Many collectors work on commission and will attempt to intimidate you. Assume all calls are being recorded and avoid saying anything overly defensive.

As we mentioned previously, keep records showing how often collectors call you, what time, and what they say. For the most part, you will receive phone calls or postal mail, although some people in St. Petersburg receive emails or text messages. Keep documents, statements, and correspondence and bring them to your creditor harassment attorney. If a dispute goes to court, your lawyer can use this as evidence.

When speaking with a collector, ask for their name, the name of the company they work for, and a call back number. Take notes about what you discussed, or if they made any threats such as having you arrested, hurting your credit record, or garnishing your wages. These notes can be invaluable if you end up taking the debt collector to court.

Verify the Debt

During your conversation, you can also ask the collector to verify the debt. Within five days, they must provide the following information:

  • The amount of debt
  • The creditor

They should also notify you that you have thirty days to dispute the debt’s validity. If you do nothing, they will assume it is valid. If you dispute it within thirty days, they will send you identifying information verifying the debt. Once you ask for verification or dispute the debt, the collector must cease their collection activity until they send you the verification.

Work with a Creditor Harassment Attorney and Defend Your Rights

Ultimately, the best way to get the harassment to stop is to contact a creditor harassment attorney. If you do not know your rights as a consumer, then debt collectors may try to take advantage of you. For a professional team of lawyers in the St. Petersburg area, call Berkowitz & Myer at (727) 344-0123 or contact us online.

Has A Creditor Left A Door Hangar At Your Home?

Have you ever forgotten to pay your cable bill? What about your credit card bill or car loan?   I think many consumers would emphatically answer “yes” to these questions.  Life happens- maybe you lost your job or went on vacation and forgot to pay the bill.  Or, maybe you received a new debit card and failed to update the electronic, automatic payment.  In any event, this oversight happens to many consumers.  Once you miss a payment, inevitably, the creditor will begin their collection efforts.  In a previous blog, I discussed what to do if they start calling your cell phone.  However, in some circumstances, the creditor will visit your home in an attempt to collect the past due debt.

The Law

There are potential illegal issues that arise once a creditor visits your home.  In many cases I have pursued, creditors have left door hangars either on a consumer’s front door, or on their gate out front.  In a recent case, a creditor left a door hangar, which stated “police will be getting involved”.  This is a blatant violation of multiple subsections of Florida Statute, Section 559.72.  For instance, creditors are prohibited from simulating in any manner legal or judicial process.  See Fla. Stat. §559.72 (10).  In another recent case, my client’s cable and internet provider left a hangar on my client’s fence.  As a result, the neighbors of my client saw that he was past due on a debt, which caused my client great embarrassment.  This is a violation of Florida Statute, Section 559.72(5), which states that a creditor cannot disclose information regarding a consumer’s debt to third parties. 

Remedy

If you are victim of one of the scenarios above, you may be asking yourself- what remedies do I have?  Unfortunately, many of my clients have never even heard of Florida’s consumer statute- the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (“FCCPA”).  Under the FCCPA, consumers are entitled to up to $1,000 in statutory damages, any actual damages, attorney’s fees, and costs.  That’s right- the creditor is responsible for your damages and your attorney’s fees.

What To Do

If you are a victim of one of the scenarios above you need to contact a consumer protection attorney immediately.  I have litigated many of these “door hangar” cases successfully and would be more than happy to consult with you at no-cost. If you think you have a case, call me at 727-344-0123, or e-mail me at jon@berkmyer.com and tell me what has happened.    

Has Spectrum/Bright House Networks Improperly Charged You For A Fee You Don’t Owe?

Do you use Spectrum f/k/a Bright House Networks for cable and/or internet?  Did you receive your November 2016, December 2016, or January 2017 bill in the mail, or do you have access to it electronically?  If so, you may want to take a second look at it.  In a recent article, Spectrum, f/k/a Bright House Networks, has been accused of improperly charging customers for fees that are not owed.  Specifically, many customers were charged a $9.99 “Spectrum WIFI Activation” fee even though these services were never performed. 

Florida Law

Under the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (“FCCPA”), it is illegal for Spectrum to attempt to enforce a debt when they know that the debt is not legitimate.  See Fla. Stat. 559.72(9).  Here, because Spectrum had knowledge that they never performed any services, but yet still attempted to collect the debt, they violated the law. Spectrum is liable to costumers in the amount of up to $1,000 in damages, attorney’s fees, and costs.  Recently, Spectrum has provided refunds for their wrongdoing- that doesn’t matter under the law. If you have this charge on your bill, you have a case against Spectrum.

What To Do

If you are a customer who has received a Spectrum bill like this, you should contact a consumer protection attorney immediately.  I have handled numerous cases similar to this issue and would like the chance to review your case at no cost to you.

no-cost consultation: (727) 344-0123
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