Debt Collector Harassment in Tampa, FL
Debt collector harassment is the intimidation, bullying, abuse, or coercion of consumers into paying off the money they owe. In Tampa, 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 Tampa, Florida
Florida’s Attorney General, states that residents of Tampa are protected from debt collector harassment by both federal and state laws. Moreover, original creditors must also abide by state law. Consequently, Tampa creditors and Tampa debt collectors are prohibited from certain practices, including:
- Falsely implying they are attorneys
- Advertising the debt
- Calling between 9:00pm and 8:00am
- Sharing your debt information with neighbors or co-workers
- Threatening to harm you, your reputation, or your property
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 Tampa attorney can help you identify your options and build a strong case.
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 Tampa, FL debt collectors may have misrepresented themselves to you, it’s important to remember that you have options. Get in contact with an attorney that 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 Tampa 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.
If you are contacted by a debt collector in Tampa, it is advisable to do some research on the company. The Better Business Bureau lists collection agencies operating in and around Tampa. The Bureau even provides ratings and reviews for these companies. Some accredited agencies near Tampa include Daniels, Newman & Armstrong Inc, and American Financial Relief Center Inc. Some non-accredited agencies near Tampa include RedLine Processing Group, and Merchants Solution Group.
What Should You Do If You’ve Been Harassed By a Debt Collector In Tampa, Florida?
Step 1: Know Your Rights
If you think Tampa 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
Have you been harassed in Tampa, FL by a debt collector? If so, it’s important to begin to gather evidence.
Florida Law Help recommends keeping a record of any harassment you experience in Tampa. Keep a file of all letters and envelopes received, and copies of anything you send. It is advisable to send documents via certified mail to verify receipt. Additionally, you should keep track of all calls, noting the date, time, name of caller, company information, and what was said. Be aware that you cannot record these calls unless the debt collector agrees. This is because Florida is a two-party consent state.
Step 3: Remain Calm and Act Deliberately
When you’re being abused or harassed by a bullish Tampa 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 Tampa, FL 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. Tampa attorneys that understand What to Expect When Suing for Debt Collection 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 Tampa, FL debt collector attorney, you have a better chance of winning the lawsuit and getting financial compensation for abuses such as phone harassment.
Deciding where to begin your Tampa debt collector harassment case can be tricky. A Tampa attorney can advise you about the optimal jurisdiction for your case. Specifically, you may file in US District Court, Middle District of Florida, or possibly in Hillsborough County Circuit Court. You may sue for any economic damages that resulted, such as lost wages or medical bills. You may also be reimbursed for attorney fees and court costs. Also, even if you can’t prove damages, you may be entitled to statutory relief of up to $1,000.
Work With an Experienced Tampa, Florida Debt Collector Harassment Lawyer
If you’ve experienced debt collector harassment in Tampa, FL 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!