Consumer Law

In Florida, consumer debt collection practices are regulated by both the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (FCPA), Chapter 559, Florida Statutes and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C.A. § 1692. The attorneys at Bitman O’Brien & Morat, PLLC are dedicated to helping consumers who have been harassed by debt collectors. We understand these consumer protection laws and can recover the compensation you deserve.

Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)

Under 15 U.S.C.A. § 1692 a debt collector may not engage in any conduct the natural consequence of which is to harass, oppress, or abuse any person in connection with the collection of a debt. The following conduct is a violation of this section:
To prevail on an FDCPA claim, the plaintiff must establish that: (1) he or she was the object of collection activity arising from consumer debt; (2) the defendant qualifies as a “debt collector” under the FDCPA; and (3) the defendant engaged in an act or omission prohibited by the FDCPA. The statute of limitations for a FDCPA claim is one year from the violation.
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    Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (FCCPA)

    Florida passed its own legislation to supplement the FDCPA. The FCCPA is broader than the FDCPA and applies to any person attempting to collect a debt. The statute of limitations for a FCCPA claim is two years from the violation. Florida Statute § 559.72 includes an extensive list of prohibited practices in collecting consumer debts. Some of the prohibited practices include:

    See Florida Statute § 559.72 for the complete list of prohibited practices.

    A debtor may bring an action for damages under the FDCPA and FCCPA. Damages can be actual and additional statutory damages of up to $1,000, together with court costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees. The court may also award punitive damages and provide equitable relief as it deems necessary or proper.

    Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUPTA)

    FDUTPA is a statutory cause of action set forth in Chapter 501 of the Florida Statutes. FDUTPA was enacted to “protect the consuming public and legitimate business enterprises from those who engage in unfair methods of competition, or unconscionable, deceptive, or unfair acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce.” Florida Statute § 501.202(2). The FDUTPA statute is broad and can encompass many different deceptive, misleading and unfair actions and activities.

    Under FDUTPA, you can recover compensatory damages along with attorneys’ fees, if you are the prevailing party. FDUTPA does not allow for recovery of punitive, consequential or incidental damages. The statute of limitations for bringing a FDUTPA claim is four years from the date of the event giving rise to the FDUTPA claim.

    If you are the victim of deceptive or unfair trade practices or someone has sued you for violating FDUTPA, Bitman O’Brien & Morat, PLLC can assist you. Our experienced attorneys are well versed in the law regarding the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.

    In order to assert a claim for damages under FDUTPA, a plaintiff must establish: