Don't Forget Your Powerful FCCPA Rights!
Updated: Dec 10, 2019
Yesterday I filed suit against a large mortgage servicer for violations of a very important law called the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act. Every Florida consumer should know about this powerful consumer protection law.
In my case, the mortgage servicer is charging illegal and erroneous late fees to my client's mortgage account, threatening to place him into default on his mortgage loan. My client has never been late on his mortgage payments and has repeatedly demanded that they rectify the problem, to no avail.
We filed a very simple suit in small claims court for violations of a specific provision of the FCCPA, Florida Statute 559.72(9), which makes it illegal for any person to "Claim, attempt, or threaten to enforce a debt when such person knows that the debt is not legitimate, or assert the existence of some other legal right when such person knows that the right does not exist."
We believe that by continuing to charge illegal late fees to my client's account, the servicer has violated Fla. Stat. 559.72(9) because the servicer does not have a legal right to collect those fees.
The FCCPA provides for $1,000 in statutory damages plus recovery for actual damages and you can also recover reasonable attorney's and costs.
"Statutory" damages means that you are entitled to recover the damages even if you can't prove out-of-pocket expenses with receipts, etc. "Actual" damages are damages that you can prove such as lost wages. The FCCPA provides for a recovery of both statutory damages and actual damages.
The FCCPA is basically a Florida state law companion to an important federal law known as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA"). One important difference is that the state law, the FCCPA, applies to "any person," not just debt collectors. The federal law, the FDCPA, only applies to debt collectors. So, for example, if your creditor is the original lender for your loan, the FCCPA would apply but not the FDCPA.
You do not have to put up with harassment by creditors and debt collectors. You have rights, too. The FCCPA is an important tool for us to hold abusive creditors accountable.
At our firm, we often accept FCCPA and FDCPA cases on contingency if we believe you have a strong case. If you believe you are being subjected to illegal debt collection, feel free to contact us at 813-260-4883 or via email at email@example.com.
Thanks for reading and I hope you have a great Sunday.
Ryan C. Torrens
Consumer rights attorney