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Anyone who has ever had a past due bill knows how relentless and abusive debt collectors can be. What many do not realize, however, is that many debt collectors rely on the fact that their victims are wholly unaware of the legal protections available to them under both federal and Florida law.
Instead, debt collectors routinely engage in illegal conduct in order to harass, intimidate, and deceive their targets – often hardworking Floridians who have fallen on hard times, as well as victims of fraud – into unwittingly forfeiting their rights and potentially paying debts they may not even be obliged to pay.
Committed to standing up “for the people,” the legal team at Morgan & Morgan has expanded our practice to include assisting individuals who have become victims of debt collector harassment in Florida.
We know how to put debt collectors in their place and how to get compensation for good people who have been hurt by their harassing and illegal behavior. Contact us for a free consultation today.
What Debt Collectors Can’t Do
If you have experienced first-hand how debt collectors operate, you may believe there is nearly nothing they can’t and won’t do. However, the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act places strict standards of conduct upon nearly every third-party debt collector in the United States. Debt collectors cannot:
- Threaten force, violence, or defamation
- Use obscene, profane, or abusive language
- Publish the names of alleged debtors
- Place phone calls with a frequency that is intended to harass
- Misrepresent the amount, nature, or origin or an alleged debt
- Impersonate law enforcement or another authority
- Misrepresent the potential penalties for non-payment, including telling alleged debtors they will be prosecuted, imprisoned or their wages will be garnished (unless garnishment is actually authorized by a court)
- Add charges or fees not authorized by the original agreement
- Solicit or demand an excessively postdated check
- Threaten to repossess property when the right to do so does not actually exist
Florida state law reiterates similar protections and actually provides some additional ones such as making it illegal for a debt collector to communicate with an alleged debtor’s employer – or threaten to do so – without a legitimate garnishment order.
How Can Victims of Debt Collector Harassment in Florida Fight Back?
Debt collectors must cease communication with you once you notify them that an attorney represents you. Further, if you dispute a debt, they must cease communication until they are able to provide sufficient verification of the amount and nature of that debt.
When debt collectors nevertheless choose to ignore these reasonable rules, victims may bring a civil lawsuit for any actual damages they suffered, plus attorney fees, plus up to $1,000 in additional statutory damages.
Morgan & Morgan Can Help Take Your Life Back From Debt Collectors
Debt collectors attack their victims in a position of weakness and rely on fear and lack of knowledge of the law to perpetrate harassing and often illegal conduct in pursuit of their goals.
If you have experienced any of the conduct described here or otherwise been the victim of debt collector harassment in Orlando, we may be able to help.