Miami Debt Collection Lawyer
The Miami debt collection lawyers at Jacobs Legal are dedicated to helping individuals put a stop to unlawful harassment from bill collectors who break the law by harassing, threatening and intimidating people whom they believe owe a debt to them. The federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is the primary law consumer rights lawyers use to stop unlawful practices and recover money damages for any harm done. However, the state of Florida has its own fair debt collection law as well, and this law goes beyond the FDCPA in significant ways. At Jacobs Legal, PLLC we are thoroughly familiar and experienced with consumer laws at all levels and will pursue your case using the most appropriate means to get you the best result.
How Florida’s fair debt collection law enhances the FDCPA
The Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (FCCPA) 559.55-.785 goes beyond the FDCPA in some very important ways. For instance, one drawback of the FDCPA is that it only applies to bill collectors and collection agencies. If your debt is still held by the original creditor, that creditor can engage in behavior otherwise prohibited by the FDCPA without violating the law. This could include sending threatening letters, calling you repeatedly at odd hours, or sending embarrassing letters to you at work.
The FCCPA, on the other hand, applies to all creditors, including the original creditor as well as collection agencies and bill collectors. The FCCPA outlaws many of the same abusive practices as the FDCPA. However, the Florida law also applies to:
- Credit card companies
- Car dealership finance departments
- Cell phone stores
- Furniture stores
- Appliance stores
- Electronics stores
- Credit unions
Any company trying to collect money from you must follow the FCCPA.
The FCCPA prohibits a long list of activities
Some of the many prohibited practices under the FCCPA include:
- Pretending to be a law enforcement officer or government agency representative
- Using or threatening to use force or violence
- Threatening to disclose private information
- Actually disclosing private information
- Threatening to contact the debtor’s employer
- Communicating so often it is harassing to the debtor
- Using profane or abusive language
- Trying to enforce an illegitimate debt
- Using a form that looks official when it isn’t
- Pretending to be an attorney
- Publishing or threatening to publish the debtor’s name on a “deadbeat list”
- Refusing to identify oneself over the phone
- Sending postcards or mail with words on the outside of the envelope intended to embarrass the debtor, like “deadbeat”
- Calling before 8:00 in the morning or after 9:00 at night
- Communicating directly with a debtor who is known to be represented by an attorney
Get more money under the FCCPA
Both the FDCPA and the FCCPA allow consumers to pursue cases against creditors who violate the law. Under either law, you can recover actual damages for harm done to you, including emotional distress, as well as up to $1,000 per claim in statutory damages. You can also have your attorney’s fees and costs paid for by the other party.
The Florida law, however, also allows you to recover punitive damages in appropriate cases. Courts award punitive damages to plaintiffs in order to punish defendants for extremely bad or malicious behavior, and to set an example to other companies who might be tempted to misbehave. Punitive damages are a powerful tool in the hands of juries; these awards can be very high to punish outrageous behavior and get a company’s attention to deter future bad acts.
Call Now to Put an Immediate Stop to Creditor Harassment
Whether you have a valid or disputed debt with a company, that company must treat you with a certain level of dignity and respect in its dealings with you. Unfair debt collection practices can be extremely upsetting and even make some people physically ill. Don’t suffer unnecessarily from abusive and unlawful debt collection practices. Call Jacobs Legal, PLLC for a confidential consultation and immediate assistance from a team of passionate and experienced Miami debt collection lawyers.