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FDCPA - Fair Debt Collections Practices Act

Florida and federal law protect you against debt collection abuse. Creditors, professional debt collectors, and collection attorneys who violate the law are subject to paying actual damages, statutory penalties of $1000, and your attorneys fees and costs. The following is a list of common violations under the Florida Consumer Collections Practices Act (FCCPA), the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).

The following actions are violations under current law:

  • Calling too often.

  • Contacting you after you notified the debt collector in writing to stop.

  • Calling you at work after you told the debt collector to stop.

  • Calling your employer.

  • Calling family or friends.

  • Disclosing your debt to others.

  • Threatening you with jail or arrest if you don’t pay (unpaid debt is never a crime);

  • Threatening to garnish your wages or seize assets before they have even sued you.

  • Using profanity.

  • Suing you on an old debt (generally, more than four years old)

What are FDCPA Violations?

There are so many scenarios that qualify as FDCPA violations that the list would be in the hundreds, however, here is a list of some of the most common violations.

  1. Call you before 8am.

  2. Call you after 9pm.

  3. Call you at work more than once.

  4. Call third parties (the only person debt collectors can contact on multiple occasions apart from you is your spouse if you have one) more than once to try to locate you.

  5. Tell anyone else (apart from your spouse) that the collector is trying to collect a debt from you.

  6. Contact you after you have written to the debt collector and asked them not to contact you (there are more effective ways of doing this than merely sending a letter – for more information contact Kazerouni Law Group, APC today).

  7. Try and collect on a debt that is not valid [you would be surprised to know that this happens very frequently – usually the alleged debtor never owed the money or had settled the debt a long time ago and the debt collector is trying to double dip].

  8. Debt collectors cannot lie to you or use deceptive methods in trying to collect a debt (this is very vague and can be a great tool for you).

  9. Leave a message on an answering machine without saying that the collector is trying to collect a debt; he must leave his name and his company.

  10. Sue or even threaten to sue on a debt that you have not made a payment on for more than four years (CA – other states differ).

  11. Say or imply anything about arrest, going to jail, or the like.

  12. Threaten to sue you when the collector has no intention of doing so [this usually happens when you have been given a deadline to do something (usually make a payment) and if the deadline goes and they have not sued you, that is a violation].

  13. Threaten to garnish your wages without explaining that first the creditor must file suit and get a judgment.

  14. Say or imply anything about taking cars, furniture, or any other property and putting liens against your property – again a debt collector has to first sue you and obtain a judgment against you before it can do this.

  15. Sue you on the debt except a) where you live now or b) where you entered into the debt agreement.

  16. Embarrass you by saying things like: "You are a deadbeat; why don't you pay your bills; you are a disgrace; why don't you get rid of your spending spouse." Things like that.

  17. Use profane or other abusive language.

  18. Shout, scream, or get angry with you.

  19. Give the impression that the caller or his company has some connection with the government, the courts, the police, other law enforcement, etc.

  20. Try to collect the wrong amount: add small fees, for instance.

  21. Threaten to deposit a post-dated check, particularly when the collector knows you do not have the money to cover the check. Typical situation: "Give us a check to stop the calls and we will hold it." The perfect response to this should be: "The check is in the mail."

  22. Call you repeatedly. A call a week is OK. More than one call a week is harassment. Certainly more than one call in the same day is an abuse, particularly if you hang up and the collector calls right back.

  23. Call you or anyone else (looking for you), after the collector knows you have an attorney.

  24. Ask you to pay more than you owe.

  25. Ask you to pay interest, fees, or expenses that are not allowed by law.

  26. Call at times the collector knew or should know are inconvenient.

  27. Use or threaten to use violence if you don't pay the debt.

  28. Threaten action they cannot or will not take – an example of this is when the statute of limitations has passed and they threaten you with a lawsuit when that it is not a remedy to the collector at law

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