Handling Creditor Harassment
Many people fall into debt for a variety of reason. From lost wages, medical issues, divorce, to cost of living. To paraphrase the great Forest Gump, “debt happens.” However, just because you owe a company money, that doesn’t give them the right to harass you, your family, neighbors, and employers.
There are state and federal laws established to protect consumers from collection harassment. These laws include the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), the Florida Consumer Protection Practices Act (FCCPA), the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), and others. The Law Office of Michael A. Ziegler, P.L. serving Tampa Bay and Clearwater Florida can educate you on your rights as a consumer and help you with handling creditor harassment.
Types of Debt
Generally, only consumer debt is protected under the FDCPA and FCCPA, such as:
- Credit Card
- Auto loans
- Medical bills
Debts incurred as a result of operating a business are not protected.
Types of Illegal Conduct
It is illegal for debt collectors to harass, threaten or deceive you. If they do, you may be entitled to collect damages. Debt collectors can only contact you on your cell or at work between 8am-9pm if you give them permission to. They can send you mail, email, and text messaging as long as they follow regulations.
What You Can Do
To stop debt collectors from contacting you, send a letter asking for them to “cease and desist” contact with you. Mail the letter certified with a return receipt and make a copy for your records. This must be done within 30 days of receiving the validation notice. Then, the collection company can no longer contact you. Make sure you get and keep the return receipt confirming your letter was accepted.
Once your debt is in collections, things can go downhill quickly. Don’t wait for the endless phone calls to start. If you wait too long to get a handle on your finances, you can be sent to court, and you may end up facing bankruptcy.
It is important to seek legal counsel immediately so you can better understand the law, and give yourself the chance to fight back. The Law Office of Michael A. Ziegler, P.L. serving Tampa Bay and Clearwater Florida can help you learn about handling creditor harassment. Call today for a free consultation at (727) 538-4188 or fill out our contact form online. We look forward to serving you.