Consumer Debt Issues in Florida
Throughout its history, many people often thought of Florida as a “debtor’s haven” offering numerous protections and relief from debt collection issues. At one time, the state boasted some of the highest unemployment, bankruptcy, and credit problems. Luckily, rebounds in residential construction and tourism drastically improved the Florida economy.
Nonetheless, residents still wield poor credit scores and more debt than the national average. Although regulation regarding debt collection state laws in Pompano Beach has changed dramatically, many protections still exist that help debtors defend themselves against creditor issues.
The Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act or FCCPA specifically prohibits debt collectors and creditors from utilizing certain types of abusive, deceptive and misleading tactics while in pursuit of a debt. This act supplements protections afforded on a federal level by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
Many consumers never encounter a debt collector. Others remain experienced at avoiding collections agents. Most people reside somewhere in between, fearful and reluctant to accept their calls, or even read a letter regarding debts they may owe.
The first step towards protecting yourself against creditor harassment is knowing and understanding the debt collection state laws in Pompano Beach. Although it is essential for consumers to step up and deal with creditors directly, they should also understand their rights and protections.
The FDCPA and FCCPA
The FDCPA is a set of federal regulations that impose limits on what collectors can do while attempting to get debtors to repay what they owe. This prevents collectors from discussing the debt with third parties, calling debtors at work, or engaging in other harassing, abusive, or misleading tactics. This act only applies to debt collectors and third-party debt buyers. Unfortunately, it doesn’t cover activities engaged in by the original creditor.
In many ways, the FCCPA protects debtors further from abusive collection practices. Similar to federal law the FCCPA will protect against debt collectors and third-party buyers. However, these debt collection state laws in Pompano Beach additionally offer protective provisions against the original creditor as well.
In some other states, when creditors sell or transfer a debt to another entity, this buyer cannot sue for this debt. Nonetheless, Florida allows for debt buyers to collect and sue for assigned debts. They cannot begin these actions before sending a 30-day notice to the debtor.
Prohibited Collection Activities in the State of Florida
Debt collection state laws in Pompano Beach outlined by the FCCPA prohibit debt collectors and creditors from using harassing behavior to reclaim their debt. Some of the things that collectors cannot do under the FCCPA include:
- Impersonating a police officer or acting on behalf of any government agency
- Using threatening language, or feigning force or violence
- Communicating, or threating to communicate with an employer about the debt. However, this communication remains legal with a judgment action in progress.
- Disclosing, reporting, or threatening to report a debt to a credit agency when the debtor disputes the debt. This is legal when they disclose information concerning the ongoing dispute.
- Contact with third parties regarding the debt.
- Harassing the debtor or their family about the debt.
- Contact with a debtor between 9 P.M. and 8 A.M. without their approval.
- Impersonating an attorney or misrepresentation above the involvement of an attorney. This additionally serves as an FDCPA violation.
- Filing a lawsuit in an inappropriate venue. This could reflect suing in a distant court to make it difficult for a debtor to defend the case.
- Sending communications specifically designed to look like attorney letters or government documents.
- Using obscene, profane, vulgar, or abusive language during communication with debtors or their family.
- Making threats concerning enforcing illegitimate debts against debtors. This might include expired debts due to the statute of limitations.
What Happens When Creditors Violate Debt Collection State Laws in Pompano Beach?
Debtors wield a private cause of action when creditors or debt collectors harm them in violation of the FDCPA or FCCPA. This means that the debtor possesses grounds to file a Florida lawsuit against this collector.
In some cases, courts may offer actual damages, statutory damages that must not exceed $1,000, punitive damages, as well as attorney fees and court costs. Debtors can also file a complaint with Florida’s Financial Regulatory Office.
Debtors possess a right to sue collectors in state or federal court within a year of the date that the collector violated the law. They may sue for damages. These include lost wages, as well as medical bills. However, if the debtor cannot prove damages, they may still obtain up to $1,000 in statutory damages. This might also include reimbursement of their attorney’s fees and court costs.
Nonetheless, it is important to remember that even when a court finds a collector in violation of the FDCPA, FCCPA, or other debt collection state laws in Pompano Beach, the debtor still owes the debt.
Attorneys Well Verse in Debt Collection State Laws in Pompano Beach – The Law Offices of Paul A. Humbert, P.L.
The Law Offices of Paul A. Humbert, P.L. represent various individuals in debt collection defense suits. However, we additionally serve as creditor’s rights attorneys as well. This uniquely positions the firm, additionally wielding insight from both sides of the courtroom.
If you find yourself dealing with a potential issue concerning debt collection state laws in Pompano Beach, or anywhere in Florida, don’t approach this alone. Contact the Law Offices of Paul A. Humbert, P.L. to schedule a consultation.