Overly aggressive consumer debt collectors are usually breaking Federal and Florida law. As we all know, times are tough and many Americans are falling behind on debts. The debt collection industry, too, is struggling to squeeze every possible penny out of debtors who have defaulted on various debts. This has lead to debt collectors acting extremely aggressively and, often, illegally.
In many instances, once a debt, for example a credit card debt, goes unpaid for a certain amount of time, the credit card company will sell it to a debt collection company for pennies on the dollar. The debt collection company then tries to collect as much of the debt as possible. There is nothing illegal about this arrangement. The major problem is that debt collection companies, in their attempt to make a profit, often attempt to collect debts in an overly aggressive and, ultimately, illegal manner.
The problem of debt collectors attempting to collect debts in an aggressive and illegal manner, is prevalent across the country. The Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau are trying to crack down on this problem, but as consumers are often not aware that the debt collectors’ actions are illegal or that they have any recourse, the problem persists.
Debt collectors’ actions in collecting debts are limited by both the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and, in Florida, the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act. These limitations apply even if you owe all or part of the money the debt collector is trying to collect. Debt collectors have impersonated police officers, called consumers homes at all hours of the day and night, threatened to have them fired from their jobs or to physically harm them, or threatened to have them arrested. All of these things are illegal.
Under federal and Florida consumer protection law, debt collectors cannot, among other things, harass you or your family members, cannot call late at night or early in the morning, cannot threaten you with violence, cannot use profane language, and cannot contact you about a debt when they know you are represented by an attorney. If you are being harassed by debt collectors in violation of these laws, you can sue them and receive money damages. The debt collector may also be required to pay any attorneys fees and costs you incur as a result of your suit against it.
Visit Parker and DuFresne, PA’s consumer protection page for more information about your rights.