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Creditor Harassment

So times have been tough and you have been sued in court for a debt that you owe and have not paid. Why then are we talking about creditor harassment and why is it relevant to the debt collection lawsuit? In many cases, during the time leading up to you being sued and served with the debt collection lawsuit, you have likely received debt collection calls and letters. Many times, you have received a lot of debt collection calls and letters. What is creditor harassment? Well, likely more than you think. Some things are obvious. Yelling and screaming at someone in an attempt to collect a debt is obviously collection harassment. There are, however, many other things that can be considered illegal conduct when it comes to collecting a consumer debt. In the end, if you do not feel that you have been treated with honesty, dignity, fairness and respect, you very well may be the subject of creditor harassment or unlawful debt collection. If this is the case, LeavenLaw attorneys are trained to identify such creditor harassment and try to use it to defend the lawsuit that has been filed against you. LeavenLaw will leverage your case against the debt collector and/or its attorneys for the best possible result (i.e., debt settlement, deleting the negative account from your credit report, etc.) LeavenLaw goes over your right under four laws below that govern debt collection activity.

Violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act ("TCPA")

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act ("TCPA") is a federal law that was passed by Congress in 1991. The TCPA regulates the activities of telemarketers and often debt collectors. The TCPA limits the use of automatic telephone dialing systems (also known as “auto-dialers”), and the use of artificial or prerecorded voice messages, SMS text messages, as well as the use of fax machines to send unsolicited advertisements. Auto-dialed calls can be hard to identify, but with LeavenLaw's help, we will teach you to to determine if these calls are being placed using an auto-dialer. A call initiated using an auto-dialer may in fact have a live person on the other end. Debt collectors or telemarketers, however, need to maintain a volume operation to stay profitable. In other words, they typically must make thousands of telephone calls each day. So, if you are getting calls from a debt collector or telemarketer on your cellular telephone, it is likely that they are using an auto-dialer in violation of the TCPA. Under the TCPA, consumers are entitled to collect damages ranging from $500 to $1,500 for each unlawful call, fax, or text message.

Examples of common TCPA violations include:

  • Unless a consumer has previously given express consent, it is generally a violation of the TCPA for a business to engage in any of the following conduct:
  • Debt collector and/or telemarketing calls made to your cellular telephone, which were initiated by the use of an auto dialer.
  • Debt collector and/or telemarketing calls made to your cellular telephone, which were initiated by an artificial voice or a prerecorded message.
  • Sending unwanted fax messages, which solicit or promote a business (i.e. junk faxes).
  • Sending unwanted business advertisements via text messages to your cellular telephone.

Violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA")

Debt collectors can be aggressive. In fact, sometimes they resort to overly aggressive and persistent tactics to collect outstanding debts all in the name of collecting more money. To stop abusive debt collection practices, the federal government passed the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) in the 1970s to address the problem. Since its inception, complaints about unlawful debt collection or collection harassment has been the single most complained about action with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the organization charged with monitoring and policing such complaints. The FDCPA prohibits third-party debt collectors from using certain methods to collect outstanding debts. In fact, if the debt collector violates the FDCPA, it might have to pay $1,000.00 dollars damages to you or more for violating your rights! Further, if LeavenLaw attorneys are successfully in your case, it is the debt collector that must pay your attorneys' fees!

IF YOU ARE RECEIVING CALLS FROM A DEBT COLLECTOR, SAVE YOUR MESSAGE AND HAVE IT REVIEWED BY A LEAVENLAW ATTORNEY TO DETERMINE IF YOUR RIGHTS HAVE BEEN VIOLATED. ALSO SAVE ALL DEBT COLLECTION LETTERS AND BRING THEM WITH YOU TO YOUR FREE CONSULTATION.

Examples of illegal and unlawful debt collection activities include:

  • Collecting a debt in Florida without registering as a debt collector
  • Calling too early in the morning (before 8AM) or too late at night (after 9PM)
  • Telephone calls made from an auto-dialer
  • Pre-recorded voicemail messages left on your cellular phone
  • Using obscene language when attempting to collect a debt
  • Threatening you in any manner
  • Not revealing their employer's identify when making debt collection calls
  • Suing on a time-barred debt
  • Threatening credit reporting on a time barred debt
  • Misrepresenting the amount of the debt in any way
  • Contacting you in an attempt to collect the debt when they know you are represented by an attorney
  • Contacting third parties regarding your debt
  • Leaving messages with co-workers at your place of employment regarding the debt owed

Violations of the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act ("FCCPA")

The Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act ("FCCPA"), like the FDCPA, protects consumers from certain debt collection activities. Unlike the FDCPA, however, the FCCPA is also applicable to first-party creditors (i.e., the entity that lent you the money in the first place). Remember: being in debt does not give a debt collector the right to treat you with anything other than with honesty, dignity, fairness and respect. Specifically, there are a number of actions that may also constitute debt collector or creditor harassment, such as the following examples:

  • The use of profanity or obscene language
  • Acts of intimidation
  • Threats of force or violence
  • Impersonating a law enforcement officer or an employee of any government agency
  • Calling a consumer's place of employment and leaving a message with anyone other than the debtor (without consent or judgment)
  • Repeated calls to a debtor without disclosing the caller's identity
  • Attempting to enforce a debt when the creditor or debt collector knows that the debt is not legitimate
  • Threatening a lawsuit or credit reporting on a time-barred debt

Under the FCCPA, LeavenLaw attorneys might be able to recover up to $1,000 in damages from the debt collector or creditor, as well as attorney fees and more.

Violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA")

The Fair Credit Reporting Act governs creditors and debt collectors who erroneously report your credit to organizations that gather and report such information. In the event that you find something incorrect on your credit report, in order to have a potential cause of action against any furnisher of such information, you must first dispute the credit report to the credit report bureau. If, after so disputing, your credit report is not updated, you may be entitled to damages and have a creditor, debt collector or credit bureau pay for your attorneys fees and costs. Talk to LeavenLaw to discuss your credit reporting rights today!

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