It is likely that, at some point in our lives, most of us will go through a period of financial hardship. The stress of not being able to pay credit card bills, mortgages, or other expenses can be a heavy burden to carry. On top of this, you may have debt collectors attempting to contact you. While it is legal for a debt collector to be persistent in attempting to collect a debt from you, harassment is not. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) does not tolerate debt collector harassment.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) provides consumers with federal protection from debt collector harassment. Under the FDCPA, debt collectors are prohibited from repeatedly calling you no matter what the time of day, threatening you, or exhibiting other kinds of behavior that is perceived as harassment. Because of federal protections granted to you, the consumer, under the FDCPA, you have recourse against debt collectors who run afoul of your right to be free from debt collector harassment. It is just a matter of seeking enforcement of this right.
A Debt Collector Is Harassing Me, Is There Anything I Can Do?
If you think that you are being harassed by a debt collector, document things immediately. Keep a record of all harassing behavior prohibited by the FDCPA, specifically all voicemails.
Examples of possible harassing conduct:
- Contacting you by telephone outside of the hours 8:00 am to 9:00 pm local time.
- Communicating with you in any way after receiving written notice that the consumer wishes no further communication.
- Communicating with you at your place of employment if the debt collector knows or has reason to know that the consumer’s employer prohibits the consumer from receiving such communication.
- Contacting you after the debt collectors know you are represented by an attorney.
- Communicating with you or pursuing collections after receipt of a written request for verification of a debt made within the 30-day validation period and before the debtor mails the requested verification
- Debt collectors are prohibited from misrepresenting the debt or using deception to collect the debt, such as pretending to be an attorney or law enforcement officer.
- Threatening to publish your name and information on a bad debt” list.
- Trying to collect amounts not authorized by the contract or by law.
- Threatening to arrest you or legal action, that is not allowed or not actually contemplated.
- Using profane or abusive language when trying to collect the debt.
- Not allowed to communicate with third parties and discuss the nature of the debts.
- They are not allowed to contact you by mail or with any mailing outside of the name and mailing address and the name of the business can not indicate that they are in the debt collection business.
This record of the harassing conduct will act as evidence should you need to pursue legal action against the debt collector.
The FDCPA is a strict liability law and you may be entitled to up to $1,000 plus attorney’s fees if a debt collector can be proven to have violated the FDCPA. You have the option to sue the collection agency and stop the harassing behavior.
Florida Debt Collector Harassment Behavior
You do not have to, nor should you, put up with being harassed by a debt collector. If you have experienced any of the prohibited conduct discussed above, The Law Office of William J. Roe is here to not only help you stop the harassing behavior but also to hold the collection agency responsible for its violation of state and federal consumer protection laws. Contact us today.