At The Dellutri Law Group, we sue harassing creditors and debt collectors all the time. There is both state and federal law that clearly states the actions that are not allowed with respect to collecting on debt. The state statute on that topic is known as the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (FCCPA). The FCCPA states that if anyone attempts to collect a debt in violation of its provisions, the debtor is entitled to actual damages, statutory damages, and the attorney’s fees and costs incurred with having to bring suit to enforce his or her rights.
In the last several years, many Americans have decided to “wait out” the sluggish economy in college and grad school, pursuing higher education. Ironically, that may be contributing to the problem. Most of these returning students are without the ability to pay for schooling without taking out student loans—and those aren’t cheap.
Last year, the amount of student loan debt finally surpassed the amount of credit card debt in the United States, and is nearing the $1 trillion mark. That’s a lot of student loan debt! What’s worse, graduates are being released back into an economy that’s not any better than when they started school. Many are underemployed or unemployed, and are now facing the harsh reality of having to pay back those epic student loans with little or no means to do so.
We handle a lot of credit card defense lawsuits here at the Dellutri Law Group. In most cases, the debtor incurred the charges and simply can’t afford to pay them back within the creditor’s timeframe. When lawyers get involved, it’s easier to work out a realistic repayment plan, but in most cases that’s the best case scenario. Sometimes the creditor screws something up big time though.
In 2012, there were fewer lawsuits filed against third-party debt collectors for unfair debt collection acts against consumers than there were in 2011. So, I guess this means that Americans are paying all their monthly bills on time, and living within their means (except for the federal government, of course).
Stop me if you’ve heard this one. Just as you get home and grab a cold beverage after a long day of work, sit down on the couch, and try to relax for a bit, your cell phone starts ringing. You check to see who it is, hoping it’s a friend or relative, but it’s a number you’re not familiar with and you don’t even recognize the area code. Curious, you answer the call, hoping that perhaps it’s Publisher’s Clearing House calling to tell you their van is on the way to your place with a big fat check—but instead you’re greeted with an ominous click followed by an automated voice droning on about some “financial opportunity” that you’re wholly uninterested in. Annoying, isn’t it? And it gets even more annoying if it calls back again and again. But what can you do about it?
Imagine David and Goliath. I help the individual (consumer) fight against large corporations like insurance companies or mortgage companies.
The Dellutri Law Group represents consumers against debt collectors harassing individuals. Each week, our firm receives numerous e-mails asking questions about consumer defense and litigation law, specifically on the topic of what debt collectors can and can’t do when trying to collect delinquent debt. Recently, we received the following question:
“I had a debt collector call my neighbor, who is not affiliated with me or my debt in any way. I called the debt collector agency back, and they told me they found my neighbor’s phone number on the internet. The debt collector also told me that they would take my husband’s 401k savings to satisfy the debt if we refused to pay. Can debt collectors call my neighbor about my debt? Can they take money in a 401k to satisfy the debt?”
It may be obvious that the main reason people file for bankruptcy is because they simply have more debt than they can handle, and they want a fresh start; however, another big reason many people decide to move forward with a bankruptcy filing is because they are being badgered by creditors and they simply want to put a stop to it. Merciless, constant calls from banks, credit-card companies, and debt-collection agencies trying to squeeze every penny that they can out of you exacerbates what is already an overwhelming and stressful financial situation.
The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently issued a new FDCPA opinion. The FDCPA (also known as The Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) defines the paramater of what a third party debt collector can and cannot do when collecting a consumer debt. Based upon the 11th Circuit's opinion, it appears that there is one more thing that a debt collector cannot do.
The gist of this claim is that the the debt collector law firm improperly listed the debt as being owed to BAC Home Loan Servicing, LP as the creditor, when BAC was not the true creditor.
As a result of the struggling economy, many Americans have fallen behind on one bill or another in the past several years. It’s particularly easy to get bogged down by credit card debt considering how readily available credit has become to most consumers. The economic downturn has not gone unnoticed by creditors, who have ramped up their collection efforts to collect every dime they can in a desperate attempt to keep their bottom line from tanking. As a result, we hear all kinds of crazy stories about creditors using underhanded tactics to collect on a debt. Some of the more outrageous debt collection stories include creditors threatening to have a debtor jailed for non-payment (which they can’t do), creditors threatening to report a financed vehicle as stolen (which is illegal), and creditors demanding debtors appear at fake court proceedings and tricking debtors into thinking they’ve had a money judgment entered against them (which is super illegal)! One Jacksonville collection agent went so far as to use a dating website to lure a debtor into a date that ended with the agent demanding the debtor pay her debts!
A recent Florida Court decision was like a big right hook from consumers into the jaw of the debt collectors. In an unfair debt collection case, a consumer sues a debt collector for harassment or some other unfair debt collection practice. The Plaintiff is the consumer, and the Defendant is the debt collector. Less than 5% of people being harassed by a debt collector every do anything about it.