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Creditor Harassment – There Are Laws That Protect You

One of the most powerful defenses Florida consumers have against harassing behavior from creditors is the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (“FCCPA”). This state law lists a number of prohibited acts creditors are not allowed to take part in. Florida Statute 559.72 outlines  nineteen (19) separate types of act creditors are not allowed to participate in. Many of these prohibited activities are common sense, i.e. your credit card company isn’t allowed to threaten violence if you fail to pay, a collection company can’t call you at 4:00AM in the morning to collect a debt.

While many of the protections are common sense, I’d like to highlight a few of the items that commonly occur that may not immediately jump to your mind. If a creditor participates in any of these, contact us immediately for a free consultation.

  • Communicating or threatening to communicate with your employer prior to  a final judgment being entered. A creditor can’t tell your boss that you owe them money. Also, they can’t threaten to do this.
  • Attempting or threatening to enforce a debt when that person knows the debt is not legitimate or does not exist. If you’ve paid off a debt to the creditor and they try to collect the same debt afterward, they’ve violated the FCCPA. If you’ve discharged a debt in bankruptcy and a creditor still attempts to collect the debt despite knowing of your backruptcy, they’ve violated the FCCPA.
  • Communicating or using paperwork that simulates  the government or law enforcement. If  a debt collector sends letters that try to mimic the appearance of government communications, they’re crossing the line.
  • Communicating directly with a debtor in an attempt to collect a debt, when the creditor knows the debtor is represented by an attorney with respect to that debt. This happens often in a foreclosure context, where  a bank will contact the borrower/homeowner attempting to collect a debt despite knowing they have an attorney who represents them regarding this debt.

The entire list of prohibited acts can be seen here. If any of these laws are violated, make notes of the time they’re violated, who you spoke with and what exactly happened. At Widerman Malek Celebration Law Office we deal with these types of cases and would be happy to represent you in these matters, typically free ofcharge.