If you have problems with old debts or debt collector harassment, you will
likely hear a lot of acronyms. Two of the most important for consumers
are the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and the Florida Consumer
Collection Protection Act (FCCPA). The two statutes are similar, with
the Florida version meant to provide additional protections to its citizens.
Both the FDCPA and FCCPA are meant to protect consumers from debt collection
harassment. These statutes dictate when a creditor or debt collector may
attempt to collect a debt, how these attempts should be made, who the
debt collector may speak with, as well as the content of the calls and
communications. When a debt collector violates these rules, for instance,
by engaging in threats or other types of harassment, then that debt collector
may be liable for damages to that consumer.
While the language of the two statutes are similar, they are not an exact
match. If a court is required to decide between the state and federal
versions of the law, the judge is required to choose the option which
most benefits the consumer.
In general, court decisions interpreting both statutes are also similar.
The language of the FCCPA requires Florida judges to look to federal court
decisions interpreting the FDCPA for guidance on how to apply Florida’s
version of the statute. As a result, many of the cases using either the
FDCPA or the FCCPA are similar.
The main difference between the two statutes comes down to damages. Under
the FDCPA, debt collectors could be liable for a consumer’s attorney’s
fees, actual damages, and up to $1,000 in fines per claim. In contrast,
the FCCPA allows the consumer to also seek punitive damages. If the judge
or jury believes that the debt collector’s actions warrant punitive
damages, then the amount a consumer could win is practically limitless.
People in Florida who have been harassed by debt collectors and creditors
can use both the FDCPA and the FCCPA to seek damages. At Loan Lawyers,
our attorneys will review the elements of your case and determine if you
should use one or both statutes to seek compensation. For a free review
of your debt collection claims, contact Loan Lawyers today by calling
(888) FIGHT-13 (344-4813).