Does the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act Apply in Florida?
Have you been harassed by aggressive and inappropriate debt collectors? What you may not know is that you are protected from this type of behavior. While the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) is an important law that protects consumers nationwide, the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (FCCPA) is what applies locally.
What is the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act?
The FDCPA is a federal law that explicitly defines what abusive debt collections are and provides legal recourse for those who have been illegally harassed by creditors. This law applies to debt collectors and certain third-party debt buyers but does not cover collection activities performed by an original creditor.
How the FCCPA Protects You
Collection agencies may not engage in any sort of tactic designed to harass, abuse, or mislead you into paying a debt. They can’t falsely claim that an attorney is involved, for example, or send communications such as forms and “summons” designed to mimic attorney letters or government documents.
Debt collectors and creditors can’t legally harass you or any family member about the debt either. This includes contacting you before 8am and after 9pm. When communicating with you, they are also to refrain from using any type of abusive or profane language. Mailed envelopes and postcards shouldn’t contain embarrassing verbiage.
Under the Florida Consumer Collections Practices Act, it is also illegal to:
- Use, or threaten to use, force or physical violence in order to collect a debt
- Threaten a lawsuit or jail time for not paying a debt
- Communicate, or threaten to communicate, with your employer about the debt (This is unless they have successfully taken a judgment against you.)
- Contact third parties about your debt
- Submit derogatory information about a disputed debt to a credit reporting agency without also disclosing the existence of your dispute
- Pretend to be a police officer or a government agent
- Communicate directly with you after they know you’ve retained an attorney
Harassment from debt collectors is illegal. The attorneys at Owen & Dunivan know Florida’s Consumer Collection Practices Act. Call for a free consultation today.
What am I entitled to if a debt collector violates the law?
Under the Florida Consumer Collections Practices Act, you have a private cause of action if you are harassed by a debt collector which means you can file a lawsuit. If you win, you may be entitled to:
- Actual damages
- Statutory damages not more than $1,000
- Potential punitive damages (at the judge’s discretion)
- Attorney’s fees and court costs
Contact A Consumer Protection Lawyer
If you’ve been unfairly harassed by a debt collector, they may be in violation of Florida law. Schedule a free consultation with our Tampa law firm. We will work hard to get you the damages you deserve. We are determined, ready, and committed to representing your case. Please call us today at (813) 252-0239.
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