Understanding The FDCPA
The Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (FCCPA) is meant to help you if you have been hassled by debt collectors or creditors in The Sunshine State. Unlike the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), the FCCPA applies to original creditors as well as third-party debt collectors.
The FCCPA regulates the actions of:
- Creditors who extend credit that creates a debt or to whom a debt is owed
- Debt collectors whose principal business purpose is the collection of debts, including creditors who collect debt under a different name
- Debt buyers whose business includes purchasing debts that are transferred or “assigned” to them for the purpose of earning interest while collecting upon the debt
- Anyone to whom you owe money for an outstanding bill or line of credit – regardless of whether they are located in Florida.
Is A Creditor Acting Illegally?
The FCCPA says anyone holding a debt – creditor, debt collector or debt buyer – may not try to collect payments by:
- Using or threatening violence or force.
- Using profane, obscene, vulgar or abusive language.
- Contacting you or your family too often or otherwise abusing or harassing you.
- Calling between 9 p.m. and 8 a.m. (unless you have given them permission).
- Saying or implying they are a law enforcement officer, from a governmental agency, part of a legal or judicial process, a lawyer or associated with a lawyer.
- Threatening to tell or telling your employer about the debt (until a final court order concerning the debt exists).
- Spreading information to damage your reputation outside your family unless there is a legitimate business need to make the information available.
- Threatening to advertise or advertising your debt for sale (unless a court order allows).
- Publishing, posting, or threatening to publish or post your identify on a “deadbeats list” or in some other format designed to embarrass you.
- Sending mail to you with words on the outside meant to embarrass you such as “deadbeat.”
- Contacting you once you have notified them you are represented by an attorney regarding your debt.
What If a Creditor Violates the FCCPA?
The FCCPA allows you to sue a creditor or debt collector who has harassed or abused you in violation of the FCCPA’s prohibitions. If the court rules in your favor, it may order the defendant to pay you up to $1,000, plus money for court costs and your attorney fees.
Further, the court may issue an injunction ordering the creditor, debt collector or debt buyer to stop all practices that violate the law and may decide they are guilty of a misdemeanor, for which it can impose a $1,000 fine.
It is important to note that the FCCPA requires a legal claim to be filed within two years of the violation of the FCCPA.
Call the Florida Debt Fighters to Review Your Legal Options
We don’t want you to be harassed, threatened or abused by debt collectors. You have rights under Florida law. Our lawyers at the Florida Debt Collectors of Disparti Fowkes & Hasanbasic, PLLC will help you enforce the protections the law provides for you. We’ll stop unscrupulous bill collectors for good, and we’ll seek compensation for you to drive home the message that abusive and deceptive debt collection practices will not go unanswered in Florida.
Contact us to today to discuss your case.