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When you’re facing mounting bills and feel yourself slipping into debt, it may seem like creditor calls are the norm – just another stressful problem to deal with as you try to get back on your feet. But this is exactly when some unscrupulous creditors will take advantage of you. When you’re feeling harassed but think there’s nothing you can do about it, it’s time to consult with a debt harassment lawyer. Debt harassment is against the law.
Some bill collectors will stop at nothing to get the money they’re owed and resort to fraudulent tactics, taking advantage of your mental stress and lack of knowledge of consumer law. The Federal Trade Commission is aware of this, and you have rights.
The debt harassment attorneys at Morgan & Morgan, serving the Fort Myers area, recognize these illegal tactics and know how to protect your rights as a consumer. If you believe bill collectors and creditors are harassing you, contact us to fill out a case evaluation form today. You may have the right to compensation.
What is Debt Harassment?
Creditors have the right to seek money that’s owed to them. However, there is a difference between lawful collection attempts and fraudulent, harassing methods. When you come to us, our Fort Myers debt lawyers examine your case and work with you to stop the harassment and, in some cases, take legal action against the guilty bill collectors.
The federal government has enacted several laws to protect consumers like you from being illegally pursued by collectors. Your creditors are certainly allowed to attempt to collect the money you owe them, but they are required to do so within the law. ## What is The Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act?
In our home state, The Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (FCCPA) was enacted to protect consumers from debt collector and creditor harassment. It’s similar to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which is a federal law. The law requires that bill collectors:
- Identify themselves as a debt collector when communicating with you
- Provide the name and address of the original creditor
- Let you know you have the right to dispute the debt
- Provide verification or stop collection efforts if you dispute the debt
- File a lawsuit in the proper venue if a lawsuit against you is necessary
The law also considers the following actions as harassment:
- Impersonating law enforcement or a government agency
- Threatening violence or using obscene language
- Contacting third parties (members of your family, neighbors, etc.) about the debt
- Contacting your employer about the debt unless there is a judgment against you
- Contacting you between 9:00 pm and 8:00 am without your permission
- Sending communications falsified to look like government documents
- Mailing documents with humiliating words on a postcard or envelope
- Communicating directly when you have hired an attorney
These are a just a few examples of debt harassment. The ultimate goal is to intimidate you into paying your debts by any means necessary. However, as stated above, you have consumer rights protected under the law. If a bill collector is violating any part of the FCCPA or FDCPA, contact one of our Fort Myers debt harassment attorneys for protection as soon as possible. You may be able to file a lawsuit if a creditor breaks the law and receive compensation. Your compensation could include:
- Financial damages (not exceeding $1,000)
- Punitive damages (at the judge’s discretion)
- Court costs/attorney fees
Additionally, you may have protection under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TPCA). If you are receiving “robocalls” on your cell phone from bill collectors, you may be entitled to financial compensation.
Can I Stop Debt Harassment?
You can also take a few steps on your own to halt creditor harassment.
- Document any questionable or illegal behavior (include times and dates)
- Contact the collector in writing and ask them to stop contacting you
- Request forms from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and file a complaint
Then, contact a Florida debt harassment attorney to speak more about your rights and if you have grounds to take legal action.
Let Our Ft. Myers Law Firm Helps Protect You From Debt Harassment
If collection agencies are bothering you and your family as you are trying to deal with financial debt, you don’t have to sit back and take the harassment. Debt harassment is illegal. Morgan & Morgan represents the people, and we are ready to protect your consumer rights. Contact us today for help.