DEBT COLLECTOR / CREDITOR HARASSMENT

  1. What is Debt Collector/Creditor Harassment?

  2. What are Bill Collectors/Creditors prohibited from doing while attempting to collect money from me?

  3. Why would I want to bring a claim against a bill collector, she just hurt my feelings and made me nervous?

  4. But what if I really owe the debt they are attempting to collect?

  5. I doní»t have any money, how can I afford to hire a lawyer to protect my rights?

What is Debt Collector/Creditor Harassment?
Debt Collector/Creditor Harassment is prohibited by both Federal & Florida law.   These laws exist to stop abusive debt collectors and abusive creditors from using prohibited collection techniques to collect debts. These laws also allow you, the consumer, to seek damages against collection companies and creditors for violations of these consumer protections. Additionally, these laws force the offending bill collector/creditor to pay for your attorney if they are caught violating your rights!
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What are Bill Collectors/Creditors prohibited from doing while attempting to collect money from me?
There are a number of things that they cannot do. For example, they cannot:

Threaten to use force or violence against you if you don't pay;

Threaten to contact or actually contact (call or in person) your employer without obtaining a judgment against your first or having your written consent to call;

Damage your reputation (e.g. reporting a debt on your credit report that is not yours or one that is fully paid);

Harass you, your family, neighbors or friends by continuously calling your and/or their home phone, cell phone, or place of business without your consent;

Use profane or vulgar language while attempting to collect a debt (e.g. calling you deadbeat, loser, slacker, or use other profanity to intimidate you);

Assert rights they don't have (e.g. trying to collect money from you that you do not owe);

Pretend to be attorneys when they are not (e.g. calling saying they are from a í░legal department when they really do not have one, or identifying themselves as Brian Smith, Legal Department);

State in a letter anything that makes you feel like you are going to be sued by a certain date and then they never sue.  (e.g. pay by high noon this Friday or we'll take legal action);

Refuse to fully identify themselves during a telephone call, or contact you between the hours of 9 p.m. and 8 a.m. without your consent; among other things.
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Why would I want to bring a claim against a bill collector, she just hurt my feelings and made me nervous?
Because under Florida and Federal law, you may be entitled to recover any actual (out of pocket) damages that the bad bill collector/creditor may have caused you. Recognizing that this type of damage may be difficult to prove, the legislature has also determined that consumers may be entitled to receive an award of up to $1,000.00 under Florida law and up to an additional $1,000.00 under federal law if you prove that the bill collector violated your rights even if you haven't been actually damaged. You should also know that if the collector's conduct is bad enough, the court may, in its discretion, award punitive damages and/or prevent the collector from violating other people's rights through an injunction.
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But what if I really owe the debt they are attempting to collect?
It doesn't matter. Nothing prevents bill collectors from collecting legitimate debts. You as a consumer, however, are entitled to your privacy and to be free from harassment and abuse even when you get behind in your payments. Even creditors and bill collectors must abide by basic rules of human decency. Just because you owe a debt does not mean that a creditor or bill collector has a license to abuse you in any way.  Florida and Federal law protects you in this regard.
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I don't have any money, how can I afford to hire a lawyer to protect my rights?
Thankfully, the legislature thought of this too. Both Federal and Florida laws provide that, if you prove the bill collector has violated your rights, the bill collector may have to pay for your attorney's fees and court costs in addition to any damages. Because of this, we are able to handle your claim on a contingent fee basis where you do not pay attorney's fees up front.  We ordinarily will accept whatever a court awards as attorney's fees as full payment in full of your attorney's fees obligation with us and attorney's fees are not related to the amount you recover, they are separate.
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 YOUR INITIAL CONSULTATION ON ANY DEBT COLLECTOR/CREDITOR HARASSMENT MATTER IS ALWAYS FREE
 

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