The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is federal legislation that was enacted in 1977, prompted by the dire necessity of protecting Americans across the country, including in Florida, from abusive debt collection practices.
Central to the law is a focus on behavior that constitutes creditor harassment, such as a collection agency repeatedly calling a person at his or her home or workplace, using abusive language, sending threatening letters and engaging in similar actions.
Bad-faith actors in the debt collection business have been seeking to skirt the law’s limitations on their unethical conduct for years and in spite of the penalties provided by the FDCPA.
Florida debt collectors that engage in abusive and unlawful tactics are certainly an example of that. Many stories that are picked up by the national media regarding excessive behavior on the part of collection companies cite to a Florida entity.
A recent story featuring a Michigan resident is a case in point. After being repeatedly harassed by a Florida collection company for a debt, the woman turned over evidence of the company’s abusive conduct to a local television investigative crew. Scrutiny of the company’s actions revealed numerous threatening calls to the woman over a lengthy period of time. Recorded calls made reference to the woman’s Social Security number and sated that legal action might be forthcoming owing to her “willful evasion.”
The irony, revealed when the company was contacted directly and challenged with the evidence, was that collectors were chasing the wrong person. The woman had no debt issues and the company did not know here Social Security number. In fact, they had no idea who she was.
A company spokesperson said its collectors are “not trying to scare people,” but, rather, “trying to resolve debts.”
That response seems facially contradicted by the evidence in the case, with the company’s actions appearing to both the woman and investigators as clear threats.
A similar type of story is repeated often across the country. Harassed consumers should know that consultation with an experienced debtor’s rights attorney can stop abusive collection tactics.
Source: “Fla. debt collector stops calling woman,” Henry Erb, March 28, 2013