The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently reported that 3,428 consumers filed CFPB complaints against debt collectors in March 2014 and nearly 1,200 filed lawsuits. That’s all in one month. Many might be surprised to know that complaints from Florida were near the top of the list.
Florida ranked only behind California in the number of complaints filed with the CFPB in March. Here’s a look at the top 10, according to the CFPB data:
1. California: 455 complaints
2. Florida: 289 complaints
3. Texas: 288 complaints
4. New York: 203 complaints
5. Georgia: 158 complaints
6. Virginia: 133 complaints
7. Pennsylvania: 129 complaints
8. New Jersey: 119 complaints
9. Ohio: 118 complaints
10. Illinois: 97 complaints
So, why is Florida so high on the list? It’s no secret that the Sunshine State has one of the highest percentage of elderly residents in the nation. Sadly, many third-party debt collectors prey on the elderly by scaring them into thinking that they’ll lose their Social Security benefits, get into trouble with the law, or be harmed if they don’t pay up. It’s illegal, but that doesn’t stop them.
While consumers complain about many types of harassing, threatening and abusive behavior, the number one reason for complaints being made to the CFPB is simple, “I don’t owe that debt!” In fact, that accounted for nearly 40% of CFPB complaints. Here’s a look at all of the categories:
· Continued attempts to collect on debts not owed (39.8%)
· Disclosure verification of debt (19.8%)
· Communication tactics (17.8%)
· Improper contact or sharing of information (8%)
· False statements or representation (8%)
· Taking/threatening an illegal action (6.7%)
According to the CFPB’s statistics, the types of debt collectors were seeking payment for varied, but included phone bills, health club memberships, medical expenses, payday loans, mortgages, auto loans, and non-federal and federal student loans. While it’s clear that any type of debt is fair game to debt collectors, consumers should know that they have rights.
Stand up to debt collectors in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The FDCPA specifically prohibits third-party debt collectors from engaging in threatening, harassing and abusive behavior. If you’ve been mistreated, contact us today at 407-426-7222 to discuss your situation and determine your legal options.
The Federal FDCPA, along with the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (FCCPA), allows debt collection victims to recover up to $1,000 in statutory damages when collectors violate these laws. They also allow for the payment of any actual damages suffered, such as emotional distress, and the payment of attorneys’ fees and court costs. An attorney can make the harassment stop, determine if you’re entitled to damages, and give you the peace of mind of knowing that you can pick up your phone or open your mail without being harassed by a debt collector.
Portions originally posted by on June 18, 2014 | by Disparti Fowkes & Hasanbasic