Debt Collector Harassment in Florida

Debt collector harassment is the intimidation, bullying, abuse, or coercion of consumers into paying off the money they owe. In Florida there are two things to consider when thinking about debt collection: harassment and misrepresentation. The presence of either of these things constitutes debt collector harassment and may require you to take legal action against the collector.

Debt Collector Harassment in Florida

The Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act bolsters the federal law regarding consumer protections from collection agencies. Specifically, the legal restrictions on harassment apply to the original creditors as well as the collection agencies in Florida. Some examples of prohibited harassment include:

  • Threatening to harm you, your reputation, or your property
  • Calling continuously
  • Trying to collect a debt you’ve already paid
  • Trying to collect a debt after the statute of limitations has expired
  • Refusing to disclose their identity when calling

If you are a victim of any of these examples of harassment, you may have a right to sue the debt collector for violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). An experienced Florida attorney can help you identify your options and build a strong case.

Misrepresentations

Misrepresentations by a debt collector refer to someone making false claims or accusations or using false, deceptive, or misleading practices. This also includes misrepresenting any debt you may have. See some examples of this and other illegal debt collection practices below:

  • The amount of money you owe
  • False threats saying they will have you arrested
  • Saying they are an attorney if they aren’t one
  • Threats to do something that the debt collector has no intention of doing
  • Threats to take actions that are not within the confines of the law

If you think any Florida debt collectors may have misrepresented themselves to you, it’s important to remember that you have options. Get in contact with an attorney who understands debt collector law.

Who Are Debt Collectors?

Most people don’t know what a debt collector is until they have one incessantly calling them about paying off debt. So, who are debt collectors? Who do they work for?

Collectors come from a debt collection agency that works with creditors who are owed debts. If you have outstanding debt in Florida , such as credit debt, unpaid loans, and personal loans, your creditor may contact a debt collection agency. This agency then assigns a debt collector to your case.

Florida’s Chief Financial Officer provides a list of collection agencies that collect for the State. These companies include Transworld Systems, United Collection Bureau, National Enterprise Systems, and Gila Corporation.

Additionally, the Better Business Bureau provides a list of accredited and non-accredited Florida collection agencies that collect for a variety of clients. These companies include HF Holdings and Professional Collections.

What Should You Do If You’ve Been Harassed By a Debt Collector In Florida?

Step 1: Know Your Rights

If you think Florida debt collectors are harassing you, then it’s important to become familiar with the basics of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The FDCPA was passed in 1977 to protect consumers from collection agencies. If a debt collector violates any of the harassment or misrepresentation rules, the victim has a right to sue the collector for violation of the FDCPA.

Step 2: Collect Records

If you’ve been harassed in Florida by a debt collector, it’s important to gather evidence. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recommends that you keep a file of all letters a debt collector sends you. Keeping the envelopes might also be useful if they have used any misleading government symbols on them. Furthermore, you should save any voicemail messages, answering machine messages, and text messages. Additionally, you should always get the name and employee ID number of the caller, the company name and address, and the time of the call. Remember to take comprehensive notes during any calls. Florida is a two-party consent state, so you can’t record the call without the debt collector’s agreement.

Step 3: Remain Calm and Act Deliberately

When you’re being abused or harassed by a bullish Florida debt collector, it’s easy to get angry and act impulsively. Unfortunately, this can cause you to say or do something detrimental to your case. Instead, try to remain calm and make all your actions deliberate and well-thought-out. Not only will this be better for keeping your stress levels low, but it will prove helpful if you go to court. You can show that you were respectful and calm while the debt collector was the one using abusive language.

Step 4: Ask for Debt Verification

If you’re constantly getting phone calls from Florida debt collectors harassing you about what you owe, you need to ask for debt verification. Not only will this show whether or not they are misrepresenting your debt, but the debt collector must also stop contacting you until they provide the information you requested. Debt verification should show the amount of debt you owe and the name of the creditor. You have 30 days to dispute the validity of the debt. If you don’t dispute the debt, the creditor will assume the debt is valid.

Step 5: Contact an Attorney

If you’re the victim of debt collector harassment, it’s time to stand up and fight back. You deserve to live a life free from abusive and repetitive phone calls. Florida attorneys who understand what to expect when suing for debt collector harassment, and local debt collection laws, can help you make this possible. If the debt collector threatens to or does take legal action regarding your outstanding debts, working with an attorney becomes even more important.

Step 6: Present Your Case

By hiring an experienced Florida debt collector attorney, you have a better chance of winning the lawsuit and getting financial compensation for abuses such as phone harassment.

The first step to address harassment is to lodge a complaint with the Florida Attorney General. If you then choose to sue, your case may begin in either a US District Court or a Florida State Court. Your Florida attorney can help determine the best jurisdiction for your case. Keep in mind, due to a Statute of Limitations, you typically only have one year from the time the debt collector violated the law to sue for damages. Even if you can’t prove damages, you may still be awarded up to $1,000 and be reimbursed for attorney and court fees.

Work With an Experienced Florida Debt Collector Harassment Lawyer

If you’ve experienced debt collector harassment in Florida, it’s time to put an end to it so you can move forward with life. There are laws in place to protect consumers from debt collectors. Legal assistance can help you to navigate these complex laws and defend yourself in court, if necessary.

Are you ready to find a debt collector attorney near you so you can finally fight back against the harassment? We can even help you connect with an attorney across Florida state lines.

Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!

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