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Student Loans & Creditor Harassment

The Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act prohibits both debt collectors and creditors from using certain types of abusive, deceptive, and misleading debt collection tactics. This specific legislation is supposed to be a complement of the protections already provided by the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The FDCPA is a federal law that sets guidelines on what bill creditors can do to get the public to pay their debts. The statute hinders debt collectors from communicating with third parties about personal owed debt as well as prohibiting them from calling people at work. They also cannot participate in other tactics that are designed to harass, abuse, or mislead people into paying a debt. Going off of the rules set forth by the federal government, Florida enacted a similar measure (CCPA) to not only cover debt collectors and third party debt buyers, but also collection activities performed by an original creditor.

Illegal Collection Practices in Florida

As already stated, the FCCPA prevents creditors and debt collectors from engaging in abusive, harassing, unfair, fraudulent, dishonest, or misleading practices. Some illegal collection practices that the FCCPA prevents include:

  • Impersonating a cop or act as if their action if on behalf of a government agency
  • Intimidation tactics such as threatening to use force or violence or acting on those threats
  • Communicating or threatening to converse with your employer about the debt
  • Contacting third parties about the specific debt
  • Trying to contact you between the hours of 9pm and 8am without your permission
  • Faking that they are attorneys or that they have one involved in the situation
  • Filing a lawsuit against you in the wrong venue such as a distant court
  • Sending summons or forms of communication that seem as if they were coming from an attorney
  • Using rude, disrespectful, vulgar, or abusive language when in communication with you or your family; including mailed documents
  • Attempting to use an illegal debt against you, such as a balance that has expired under the statute of limitations
  • Knowingly hiring an unlicensed collection agency to collect a debt
  • Speaking with you when they know you have a lawyer [1]

Student Loans & Creditor Harassment

With these key points in mind, is easy to see the violations expressed in a class action lawsuit that has been filed by a Wisconsin man who claims that a lender engaged in unfair debt collection practices while trying to receive payment for a student loan. The lead plaintiff in this action is Christopher Neldner II, who is suing Allied Interstate LLC over allegations of abuse on three counts of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act.

According to Neldner’s lawsuit against Allied Interstate LLC, the plaintiff received a letter in the mail from the collection agency regarding a Sallie Mae student loan that offered a “settlement” amount, which was 50 percent of what he actually owed. The terms of the settlement over stated that Allied would be able to revoke the offer entirely or modify it after the deadline was passed. However, the plaintiff claims that the wording on the settlement offer would throw off anyone by giving “a false belief that he or she must hurry to take advantage of a limited time opportunity, when in reality, there is no such time limit.”

Neldner claims he then also received another settlement offer in the mail from Allied issuing a separate opportunity to reduce the loan interest rate to 0.001% for the full term of the repayment agreement. The plaintiff states that Allied intended to send the second letter to all consumers who didn’t respond to the first one, regardless of the apparent limited-time settlement offer. The lawsuit claims that Allied violated the FDCPA because it mislead the public by providing a false “deadline”. While attempting to collect an unpaid debt is completely legal, false and deceptive practices are not [2].

Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA

Student loans are a necessary evil of education that people need to eventually pay back after they have graduated from college or a graduate program. Education in the United States is extremely expensive and without hefty academic scholarships or athletic scholarships, the in-betweeners have to pay for college though loans. While some do the research and thoroughly pay attention to who is lending the money to pay for their education, many accept loans provided through their school’s financial aid without understanding who exactly is paying for their education and what repercussions will follow if they aren’t paid back on time. This leads to situations, such as the one described in Wisconsin.

Once outside collection agencies take over a debt, they will try to get their money back through every legal avenue possible. However, as shown in the lawsuit above, sometimes these agencies break the law using unfair and deceptive practices. If you or a loved one is being harassed by a creditor or collection agency or believe that you are dealing with unfair tactics, know that there are Florida statutes available to penalize agencies who are at fault. Our creditor harassment attorneys are well versed in Florida’s Consumer Collection Practice Act and we are willing to take collection entities and corporations to task for violating the rights of consumers. Please contact the Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA if you would like to file a claim against a collection agency. We are here to inform you of your rights and to make sure that creditors do not get away with illegal actions. Our number is (727) 451-6900. Call today for a free scheduled consultation and evaluation. We do not recover anything unless you do.

Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765
(727) 451-6900

References:

[1] https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/florida-consumer-collection-practices-act.html
[2] https://topclassactions.com/lawsuit-settlements/lawsuit-news/255429-debt-collector-used-unfair-practices-to-obtain-student-loan-fdcpa-lawsuit-says/

Additional resources on creditor harassment:

[1] https://www.dolmanlaw.com/debt-collectors-need-know-protect-enforce-rights/
[2] https://www.dolmanlaw.com/florida-creditor-harassment-claims/