Seek Relief from Creditors
Legal consumer protection resources in addition to bankruptcy options can help you to attain relief from both creditor harassment and debt.
What Are My Protections from Creditor Harassment?
The Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (FCCPA) protects debtors by preventing 3rd party debt collectors and creditors from using unfair practices and illegal harassment. Such Debt Collectors are allowed to pursue collections on debts owed, however they can be penalized or charged if they violate the FCCPA. Avoid exploitation from creditors by reviewing your legal rights under this act.
If a debt collector contacts you at times other than between the hours of 8 a.m. and 9 p.m., or at a job where you are unable to receive phone calls, they are in violation of FCCPA.
If a debt is owed, debt collectors may call your relatives and neighbors only if they cannot reach you. While creditors can call other people to find out where you live, where you work, or to obtain your contact information, they can’t reveal information about your personal finances.
The debt collector is required to send you a written explanation of the nature of the debt and of your basic legal rights under the FCCPA to dispute the debt. If you make such a dispute in writing, then the debt collector must cease communication with you until they provide validation of the amount due and the name of the original creditor. You may write the debt collecting agency to ask them to stop contacting you. They then may cease to communicate with you; but if they continue to collect the debt, they must inform you in writing of their intentions.
However, you do have the right to pursue legal action if the harassment continues. If the FCCPA is violated, you may seek actual damages, statutory (penalty) damages of up to $1,000 plus costs, possible punitive damages, and to have your attorney fees paid by the liable debt collector and or creditor.
List of Common Collection Violations
- Repeated calls to the extent of harassment
- Attempts to collect knowing that you have retained an attorney
- Attempts to collect knowing that you are unable to pay
- Attempts to collect with threats of arrest or physical harm
- Calls to relatives in an attempt to harass you
- Attempts to belittle you
- Threats to take actions they are not entitled to take
- Calls before or after the hours of 8:00 AM through 9:00 PM
- Calls to your employer
What can I Do?
Retain an Attorney
- Under the FCCPA, once a collector or creditor has knowledge that a debtor is represented on a consumer debt, all communications concerning that debt must go through the attorney.
- The attorney you retain must be willing to respond to creditors and their collectors in order to verify their representation of you.
- Be sure to meet with the attorney to reach a clear understanding of the representation.
Document the Violations
- By documenting the violations, you are increasing your chances of successfully making your claim for the violations.