If you are the victim of debt collector harassment, there are many laws that protect you — even if you really do owe a bank, credit card company, or other lender money.
Unfortunately, most employees of financial institutions act immorally and even illegally when trying to collect debts. You likely need one of Denmon Pearlman’s debt collector harassment lawyers in Tampa to help you if you are being subjected to one or more of the following:
- Repeated telephone calls to your residence and workplace from bill collectors (even if you owe the money, debt collectors cannot call you during certain hours and they must stop calling your workplace if you tell them in writing to do so).
- Frequent letters and/or telephone calls related to a really old debt (this is also called “zombie debt”).
- Demands for payment of a debt you believe you already paid off or are not even sure you owe.
- Demands for payment of a debt when you are a victim of identity theft.
What Can a Debt Collector Harassment Lawyer Do For You?
The experienced debt collector harassment lawyers at Denmon Pearlman can contact any person or business who is attempting to collect a debt from you. Some of the steps we regularly take for our clients include:
- Sending written “cease and desist” letters to demand that a bill collector stop calling and/or writing you.
- Sending “debt validation” letters to insist on full written, legal proof that you owe a bill and are legally obligated to pay it.
I Want To Know More About “Zombie Debt”
In general, most debts in Florida are uncollectible after five years. Therefore, a creditor cannot legally sue you, garnish your wages, or otherwise demand payment.
However, in some cases, the unpaid debt could appear on your credit reports for seven years.
Debt collection companies regularly buy old, unpaid accounts from credit card issuers, loan providers, and other financial institutions. It is a common dirty tactic to “re-age” a debt. Let’s look at this example.
You took out a credit card your first week of college, which was in 2009. Like many students, you did not understand that you were responsible to pay back anything you charged. So, you used the credit card and did not pay.
Fast forward to 2018. ABC Debt Collectors buys a bunch of old accounts from College Students Credit Card Company. Yours is one of them. ABC Debt Collectors claims the debt is from 2018, even though it is from 2009 and legally uncollectable in Florida.
ABC Debt Collectors call you day and night and ignore your requests to prove the debt. They put an entry on your credit report saying that in 2018 you failed to pay a credit card on time.
Without a lawyer, it will be hard for you to get this removed from your credit report. A good debt collector harassment lawyer will send letters to ABC Debt Collectors, demanding proof (or validation) of the debt. ABC Debt Collectors will likely go away, knowing they are past the five-year statute of limitations and that a lawyer can easily get a judge to rule in his client’s favor.
So, once a lawyer gets involved, “zombie debts” usually go back to the grave. Your credit is once again restored.
Laws Governing Debt Protection
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) allows you to sue unethical creditors for money as well as restored credit ratings.
Since the FDCPA is a federal law, it’s hard for the average consumer to go about enforcing this “pro se” (without a lawyer). Denmon Pearlman has years of experience going after the most unscrupulous debt collectors in Florida.
Getting calls and letters about the debts of a deceased relative? The FDCPA protects you; only in rare cases are surviving family members legally obligated to repay the debts of a deceased loved one.
Another law that protects you from debt collector harassment through “robocalls” is the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). This law allows you to collect up to $1,500 per call for repeated calls from bill collectors. Again, it can be hard for you to collect the money you deserve without the help of a skilled attorney.
Under the FDCPA, bill collectors also cannot do any of the following:
- Threaten to imprison you, physically harm you, call Child Protective Services, get you fired from your job, etc.
- Speak to third parties about your debt without your permission.
- Call or write you after they’ve been informed that a debt collector harassment lawyer is representing you.
The law requires that debt collectors do the following:
- Give you a “mini-Miranda” or in other words, identify themselves as bill collectors, when contacting you. This applies to written and oral communication.
- Immediately stop (cease and desist) all communications upon receiving notice that you no longer wish to receive their calls and/or letters.
- Provide proof (validation) of the debt within 30 days of your request. During this period, the company’s representatives cannot attempt to collect the debt.
Contact a Debt Collector Harassment Lawyer
A debt collector harassment lawyer at Denmon Pearlman is ready to help you get rid of unwanted calls, old or false debts, or otherwise assist you. We have hundreds of five-star reviews on Google, Facebook, and other social media sites.
We have offices in Tampa, St. Petersburg, and New Port Richey.
Don’t try to deal with unethical debt collectors alone — reach out for help today.