Tampa Consumer Rights Attorneys
Are you being harassed over a consumer debt? Are you having trouble correcting an error on your credit report? Manta Law represents individuals whose rights are being violated by unscrupulous debt collectors. We also represent individuals who have been harmed by credit reporting errors.
When you meet with us to discuss your debt collection harassment or credit reporting case, we listen intently and give you the personalized attention you and your family deserve. We will quickly hone in on the key issues and formulate a legal strategy designed to stop the collection calls and get you the result you deserve. We’ll use our experience, persuasive writing, and skilled legal advocacy to give you the best possible chance of success in your case.
We Handle Debt Collection Harassment and Credit Reporting Cases throughout Florida
We can represent you in your debt collection harassment and credit reporting case in any of Florida’s judicial circuits and also in any of Florida’s federal district courts, whether the Middle District of Florida, Southern District of Florida, or Northern District of Florida. We bring cases under the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (FCCPA), Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), and Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA). We represent clients throughout Tampa Bay, including Carrollwood, Westchase, Wesley Chapel, Oldsmar, Lutz, Citrus Park, South Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Largo, and New Port Richey.
How a Tampa Manta Law Attorney Can Help You if a Debt Collector is Harassing You
Is a debt collector calling you all the time to collect on a medical, credit card, or student loan debt?
We can stop unwanted collection calls and pursue damages for a violation of a consumer law. Some common violations of debt collection law include:
1. Calling you after you’ve told the caller to stop;
2. Calling you too early, too late, or at a time when the caller knows it’s inconvenient for you;
3. Telling your employer or another third party about your consumer debt;
4. Pursuing you for a debt that is not yours;
5. Telling you that you owe more than you actually owe;
6. Misleading you about the actions they can take against you.
How a Tampa Manta Law Attorney Can Help You if Your Credit Report is Wrong
Errors are made on credit reports all the time. Some common errors include:
1. reporting an incorrect balance due;
2. reporting late payments when you paid timely;
3. reporting a judgment against you when there is no judgment against you;
4. listing a person as a debtor on an account when that person is only an authorized user;
5. reporting a debt that you’ve disputed and failing to note the dispute;
6. reporting a debt as charged off when you settled it or paid it in full.
If there’s an error on your credit report that’s preventing you from getting a job or securing a loan, you need to take this seriously. We can represent you in a case against a creditor, credit reporting agency, or a potential employer. We may be able to correct wrong information on your credit report and recover damages if your rights were violated.
Call Us Today for a Free Consultation
If you believe you were wronged in a civil case, contact Manta Law immediately. It’s essential to act quickly so that you don’t miss your deadline to file your notice of appeal. We have the knowledge and resources to help you determine the best course of action. Call us today.
Consumer Rights Law
- Debt collection harassment
- Medical debt collection harassment
- Credit reporting violations
- Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and how does it limit consumer and medical debt collection?
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a federal law that limits what debt collectors, including medical debt collectors, can do in attempting to persuade you to pay a debt. The FDCPA bars debt collectors from harassing you, talking to third parties about your medical debt, lying to you and engaging in other practices designed to harass, abuse, or mislead you into paying a medical debt.
What does the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act prohibit?
A debt collector can’t call you in certain ways to get you to pay a medical debt:
- Calling you when they know it’s inconvenient for you
- Calling you before 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m.
- Contacting you directly if they know you are represented by an attorney with respect to the medical debt
- Calling you at work if they know or should know your boss prohibits personal calls
- Calling you excessively
- Calling you without disclosing their identity
A debt collector can’t embarrass you and invade your privacy in an attempt to collect on a consumer or medical debt:
- Communicating with third parties about your debt without your prior consent or permission from a court
- Publishing your name on a list of consumers who allegedly refuse to pay medical and other types of debts
A debt collector can’t harass and abuse you in an attempt to collect on a consumer or medical debt:
- Using or threatening violence or other criminal means to harm you, your reputation, or property
- Using obscene or profane language or language in communicating with you
- Advertising the debt for sale to coerce payment of the medical debt
A debt collector can’t lie, deceive, or mislead you into paying a consumer or medical debt:
- Implying that the debt collector is affiliated with the United States or a state government
- Misleading you about the character, amount, or legal status of any medical debt
- Falsely representing any services rendered or compensation which may be lawfully received by any debt collector for the collection of a medical debt
- Falsely representing or implying that they are attorneys or that a communication is from an attorney
- Representing or implying you will be arrested or jailed if you don’t pay
- Falsely representing that your property or wages will be seized, garnished, attached, or sold if you don’t pay
- Threatening to take action that cannot legally be taken or that is not intended to be taken
- Falsely representing or implying that a sale, referral, or other transfer of any interest in a debt shall cause the consumer to (A) lose any claim or defense to payment of the debt; or (B) become subject to any practice prohibited by this subchapter
- Falsely representing or implying that you committed any crime or other conduct to disgrace you
- Communicating or threatening to communicate to any person credit information which is known or which should be known to be false, including the failure to communicate that a disputed medical debt is disputed
- Using or distributing any written communication which simulates or is falsely represented to be a document authorized, issued, or approved by any court, official, or agency of the United States or any State, or which creates a false impression as to its source, authorization, or approval.
- Using any false representation or deceptive means to collect or attempt to collect any medical debt or to obtain information concerning a consumer
Who is bound by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act?
The FDCPA applies to debt collectors, including medical debt collectors, and certain third-party debt buyers. It also applies to original creditors, such as hospitals, surgery centers, or medical practices, when they use a name different than their own name to collect the debt.
What happens if a debt collector violates the FDCPA?
A debt collector can be forced to pay you $1,000 in statutory damages, plus your attorneys’ fees and costs, if it’s found to be in violation of the FDCPA. Actual damages may also be available if you have proven damages from the violation.
What’s the role of the federal government in enforcing the FDCPA?
The FTC reports that it has sued over 30 debt collection companies for violating the law, banning some from the business and making others pay substantial financial penalties. The FTC also has recommended that Congress and the states modernize the debt collection laws to reflect changes in consumer debt, the collection industry, and technological developments that affect consumers and collectors alike. For example, a 2010 FTC report concluded that the process that many debt collectors use to sue alleged debtors or force them to arbitration is seriously flawed and causes substantial consumer harm. The report recommended that government, industry, and others adopt significant reforms.
What is the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act and how does it limit consumer or medical debt collection?
The Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (FCCPA) prohibits creditors, such as hospitals, surgery centers, or medical practices, and debt collectors from engaging in abusive, harassing, unfair, fraudulent, deceptive, or misleading practices in collecting a medical debt. Some things that creditors and debt collectors cannot do under the FCCPA include:
- pretending to be a police officer and acting on behalf of a government agency
- using or threatening to use force or violence
- communicating , or threatening to communicate, with your employer about the debt, unless they have taken a judgment against you
- if you have disputed the debt, reporting, or threatening to report, derogatory information about a disputed debt to a credit reporting agency without also disclosing the existence of your dispute
- contacting third parties about your medical debt
- harassing you or your family about your medical debt
- contacting you between the hours of 9 p.m. and 8 a.m. without your permission
- holding themselves out as attorneys, or misrepresenting to you that an attorney is involved (this is also a potential violation of the FDCPA)
- sending you communications, such as forms and “summons” designed to look like attorney letters or government documents
- using obscene, profane, vulgar, or abusive language when communicating with you or your family
- threatening or attempting to enforce an illegitimate debt against you, such as a debt that has expired under the statute of limitations
- mailing you documents that contain embarrassing words or phrases on a postcard or envelope, and
- communicating directly with you when they know you are represented by an attorney.
What happens if a creditor or debt collector violates the FCCPA?
You have a private cause of action if a creditor or debt collector harms you in violation of the FCCPA. This means that you can file a lawsuit in Florida against the collector or creditor. If you win, the court may award to you: actual damages, statutory damages up to $1,000, possible punitive damages (at the judge’s discretion), and attorneys’ fees and court costs.
Do debt collectors have to register in Florida?
Yes, the FCCPA requires all debt collectors, including those located out-of-state, to be registered with the State of Florida. Only debt collectors are required to register. Those who are exempt from registration include: original creditors, attorneys, banks and other financial institutions, and real estate and insurance professionals.
What happens if a debt collector fails to register in Florida?
An unregistered debt collector might be subject to administration fines of up to $10,000, plus attorneys’ fees and cost. However, you do not have the right to sue a collection agency for failing to register. Only Florida’s Office of Financial Regulation of the Financial Services Commission has the authority to assess fines and enforce the registration requirements. The Florida’s attorney general can then file a lawsuit against that debt collector.
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