When The Bill Collector Crosses the Line in Tampa Bay, FL
The Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act protects the debtor from the debt collector harassment. Additionally, it prohibits the debt collector and creditors from a taking advantage of the debtor, use of misleading tactics and offers guidance on the best debt collection practices. Some of the prohibited practices at Tampa Bay, Florida include:
- Use of violence or force
- The debt collector acting on behalf of a government agency
- Threatening communication that uses demeaning /derogatory language
- Inappropriate and incessant calling by the debtor. The official calling time is between 8 am to 9 pm
- Calling without identifying themselves
- Contacting third parties on the debt
- Harassing the debtor’s family
- Hiring an unlicensed debtor collector
- Filing lawsuits against a client in the wrong venues
What action should the consumer take?
What should be done if someone fall victim of debt collection harassment? When the bill collector harassment infringes the debtor’s right, there is a recommended legal procedure to follow. Here are few things the debtor can do:
Stop the harassmentThe FDCPA rules stipulate that a borrower can stop the debt collection agency or agent from contacting you. One way is by writing a letter and ending all forms of communication with you. However, the agency can only communicate with the debtor in case the original creditor plans to sue or advise them to seek alternative legal action.
Never hide from the debt collectorsSome debtors will hide from the debt collecting agents. The best move is to not to ignore or hide from the debtor collector. If the debtor is afraid of communicating directly with the creditor or debt collection officer, involve a debt collection lawyer.
Keeping a record of illegal collection behaviorWhen the debt collector breaks the law, the debtor should document the violation. Write down what happened, what time, and include the witnesses. If possible, have a third party present during future communications. Phone recording is another strategy. However, some states have laws against recording without the debtor collector’s approval.
Filing a complaintAs long as the debtor has enough evidence, they can file an official complaint with the FTC. Always include the name, address, date and time and witnesses of the bill collector harassment. Also, attach any evidence of the offending materials.Send a copy to the state agency that regulates debt collection and one to the creditor and debt collection agency. Most lenders will cancel to debt to avoid liability.
Suing the collecting agency or creditorUnder what circumstances can the debtor sue the collection agency or creditor? If the creditor’s behavior was merely annoying, suing is not an option. However, if the debtor consistently calls, threatens, or uses foul language, your attorney may choose to sue.
Debtors can represent themselves or hire a lawyer. As a debtor, you are entitled to money damages if you win the case. The amount paid covers any financial losses the borrower has suffered. For instance, paying for therapy fee in cases where the debtor suffers from extreme anxiety. Any violation of any other DCPA rules can cost creditors fines of up to $1,000 each.
Hopefully, you will never be in a position in which you need the legal services of a Tampa personal injury lawyer that specializes in debt collection harassment, but in the event that you do, please give Hoag Law Firm a call at or complete your online Free Case Evaluation. A free consultation can help you understand your rights. With honest advice and an experienced attorney at your side, you can recover the largest possible settlement and get back to living your life.