Dealing with Debt Collectors
Debt collectors are determined in their pursuit of debtors. Dealing with debt collectors when they phone, email, and text you at all hours of the day and night can be stressful. If you fail to respond, they may even show up at your home or place of employment. Debt collectors can even pursue consumer debt through social media accounts under a new federal debt collection rule passed in 2021.
While it may seem that debt collectors can do whatever they want, there are debt collection laws in place to protect consumers from abusive debt collection practices. For example, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a federal law that sets out specific rules that debt collectors must follow when trying to collect a debt. The FDCPA prohibits debt collectors from engaging in certain abusive practices, such as calling you repeatedly, threatening you with legal action, or contacting you at work if you have told them not to. Debt collectors also cannot use obscene or profane language when communicating with you.
What To Do if a Debt Collector Contacts You:
– Request the name, address, and phone number of the debt collector.
– Request written verification of the debt. This should include the amount of the debt, the date of the debt, the name of the creditor, and a copy of the contract or agreement between you and the creditor.
– Request that the debt collector cease all contact with you.
Dealing with debt collectors is more than challenging. Some collection agencies will comply with these requests, but others will not verify information or stop contact. If the debt collector does not comply, you can file a complaint with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Florida debt collectors must follow the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (FCCPA), which also prohibits debt collectors from engaging in certain abusive practices, such as contacting you at work if you have told them not to, calling you repeatedly, or threatening legal action.
Take Legal Steps to Protect Yourself
Do not ignore debt collectors or debt collection letters. Ignoring a debt can lead to legal action and wage garnishment. If you think that a debt collector is doing something illegal, or if you feel like you are being harassed by a debt collector, it is important to take legal steps to protect yourself.
Under the law, you have recourse against unfair debt collection practices.
An experienced debt defense attorney can help you understand your legal options. An attorney can also put an immediate stop to debt collection harassment by sending a cease and desist letter to the debt collector, informing them that they must stop all contact with you. The attorney letter will also remind the debt collector of their legal obligations under Florida law, including the prohibition against using social media to harass or embarrass debtors. If debt collectors continue to contact you after receiving a cease and desist letter, they may be subject to lawsuit by the debtor. Violations of debt collection law can lead to significant damages, including statutory damages, punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees.
A debt defense firm is very accustomed to dealing with debt collectors and will usually accept these types of cases on a contingency fee agreement. This means that the law firm will only get paid if they successfully settle or win your case. This arrangement can be beneficial in a time of crisis for debtors because it eliminates the need to pay up-front fees. Debt collectors are also far more likely to settle a debt if an attorney is involved. The time and cost of pursuing a debtor who has retained an attorney can be significantly higher for debt collectors if they fail to follow the law.
If you want to stop debt collection harassment and are considering legal action, it is important to act quickly. The statute of limitations in Florida is four years. This means that you have four years from the date of the last debt activity to file a lawsuit against the debt collector.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. Always consult with a legal professional to understand your rights as a consumer.
Led by attorneys Michael D. Finn and J. Andrew Meyer with over 75 years of combined legal experience, the Finn Law Group is a consumer protection and debt defense firm. If you are being harassed by debt collectors, do not hesitate to contact The Finn Law Group for a free consultation. We will review your case and help protect your rights under Florida and Federal law. Contact us today. To learn more about Debt laws, follow us on Twitter.