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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
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Experience:  Lawyer
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I was told there is a Florida law that if a company calls

Customer Question

I was told there is a Florida law that if a company calls you and harasses you to pay them on the phone now that they are wrong and could be finned $1500 for doing so. If this is correct how does one go about handling this.
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 4 months ago.

Hi,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today.

Florida has a consumer protection act applying to debt collectors that expands on the protections of the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Both of those statutes provide for a consumer to sue for a penalty of up to $1,000 each time a creditor violates the act. See Fl. Stat, Section 559.77 and FDCPA, Section 813. Both statutes prohibit harassing phone calls, but there are specific definitions as to what that means. It's harassing to call someone and threaten violence to get them to pay, "profane, obscene, vulgar, or willfully abusive language", to misrepresent the nature of a debt, to call during certain hours without the consent of the consumer, and things like that. A full list of illegal practice can be found in Fl. Stat., Section 559.72 and FDCPA, Sections 805-808.

Federal law gives consumers a right to send creditors a letter insisting that they cease all communication via phone or letter about the debt. The letter must be sent via certified mail with a return receipt requested. If you send that letter and they call again for any reason other than to say they're going to leave you alone or that they're going to sue, you can sue for $1,000 for violating the FDCPA. Note that the letter does not stop them from suing, but if they acknowledge that they made a mistake, it wouldn't make sense for them to do so. Here is a sample letter:

http://www.fdcpaclaims.com/gathering-evidence-to-win-my-fdcpa-claim/what-constitutes-abuse-of-the-fdcpa/sample-drop-dead-letter/

If you do wind up having to file a lawsuit because they're breaking the law, you can ask that they also be required to pay your attorney's fees, under those statutes.

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Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 4 months ago.

Did you have any other questions about this?