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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me what has happened.