Debt Collection Harassment
Debt Collection Harassment? You may be entitled to Compensation!
Just because you owe money, that doesn’t mean that debt collectors can do whatever they want. When it comes to debt collection, you have legal rights. And when those rights have been violated, you may be entitled to compensation for violation of state and federal laws. (You heard that right – the very companies that you owe money to may have to pay you if they have been a pain in your backside!)
Know Your Rights!
The Law Office of Michael A Ziegler, PL: Debt Fighters is a collection harassment law firm in Clearwater, Florida, serving consumers throughout the state in protecting their rights. So what are the laws that protect against unlawful collection?
- The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA): This is a federal law that provides restriction on debt collectors to stay they can’t misrepresent your debt, they can’t collect overly aggressively, and in some cases, they can’t you at all.
- The Florida Consumer Collect Practices Act (FCCPA): This is a state law which expands the boundaries of the FDCPA. Through the FCCPA, any company collecting on a debt has to follow the law, even if they aren’t professional debt collectors. The FCCPA also opens the door to more aggressive penalties, where in some instances a wrongful collector can be responsible for punitive damages!
- The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA): This federal law provides protections for when someone is using an automatic dialing device to call your cell phone without your permission.
- The Bankruptcy Automatic Stay: Provides protections to people who have filed for bankruptcy
Debt Collection Attempts
The attorneys at The Law Office of Michael A. Ziegler, PL have been safeguarding consumer rights when it comes to debt collection attempts for many years. We understand that while debt collectors can be annoying, sometimes they take it a bit too far and can actually break state and/or federal laws. Here are some things that debt collectors cannot do when seeking payments:
Cannot: Contact your employer or co-workers
Debt collectors are not permitted to enter your workplace or contact an employer regarding payments unless they have a judgment. By doing so, it publicizes your debts and lets others know about your personal finances. While a debt collector may call you directly while at work, they cannot reveal their identity to an employer or coworkers (so if left a message with someone at your office to say “tell Bob to return my call at Collection Inc, they would be violating your rights).
Can: Contact you, but not too much
No-one likes to get a collection call, but no all collection calls violate your rights. A simple call every couple of days without any abusive language may comply with the law. But if the debt collect goes overboard with the calls, they might violate your rights. Here are some specific scenarios that are likely violations of the law:
- The calls come before 8:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m.
- Calls come multiple times per day or even multiple times per hour.
- The calls come after you have told the caller to stop or that you can’t pay (even if you just told them verbally).
- The caller uses abusive language, or falsely implies that you will be arrests (you can’t be arrest for owing a debt).
Cannot: Contact Third Parties About Your Debt
Very similarly to the rules for an employer, a debt collector cannot call friends and family about your debt. They are allowed to call 3rd parties to get your contact information if they don’t already have a way to get a hold of you, but they can’t use that exception to reveal to the third party that you owe a debt.
Can: Collection on a Debt that is Past “Statute of Limitations” (sometimes)
Many people are aware that there is a limited time for a company to collect on a debt. The laws for this are called the Statute of Limitations (“SOL”). SOL controls how much time a company has to file a lawsuit, but once the lawsuit has been filed, the SOL no longer prevents collection. If a lawsuit has not been filed, and the collectors are still trying to recover the balance, that may still be lawful, as long they disclose they cannot sue you on the balance. If such disclosure has not been made, the collection would likely be a violation of consumer protection law.
What are the benefits of filing a Debt Collection Harassment Claim?
Under the laws outlined above, there are varying penalties depending on what the debt collector has done wrong, and how it has impacted you. Recoveries under these laws may include:
- Economic damages – any out-of-pocket from the bad conduct;
- Emotional damages – in more extreme cases of emotional harm and embarrassment;
- Statutory damages – preset damages set out under the applicable statute;
- Injunctive relief – in other words, make them stop;
- Punitive damages – if the bad guy has done something “really bad”, they may have to pay for it; and
- Legal fees and cost.
Also, although not specifically set out under the laws, sometimes in negotiating a resolution on these matters, a settlement might offer other benefits to the consumer.
How much does a Debt Collection Harassment Lawyer cost?
In most instances, we are able to take these cases on a contingency basis, meaning the consumer does not pay anything up front. Under the way the laws are structured, the bad guys pay for our time and out-of-pocket in pursuing the case.
If you are overwhelmed with relentless calls, emails, and letters from a debt collection agency, contact us without hesitation to book an appointment with an attorney. We will do what we can to see that your rights are being protected, and assist in taking legal action if needed. Schedule a no-commitment consultation today to see if your rights have been violated.
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Get Help Now!
If you believe that a debt collector has violated collection laws, call us at (727) 538-4188 or fill out the form to the right. Depending on the facts of your case, we may be able to accept your case with no cost to you unless we recover from the debt collector. Don’t let yourself be victimized. Contact a Clearwater debt collection defense attorney today from The Law Offices of Michael A. Ziegler, PL about Debt Collection Harassment.
Michael is a zealous advocate that provides personalized attention to each individual client’s legal issue.
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This attorney and his staff are very prompt with helping me during and after my chapter 13 bankruptcy. I needed to refinance the house at a lower rate and what was left on my credit report was slowing the process way down. Since contacting his office about the current issues one was solved in a very short time. I highly recommend him and or his staff to anyone that needs professional help in the future.
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