Consumer Law

Federal and State Regulations Enacted to Protect Consumers

Our team of consumer protection lawyers has over 20 years experience representing both consumers and businesses in actions enforcing and defending federal and state consumer laws.

Florida Consumer Collection Practices ACT (“FCCPA”)

The Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (FCCPA) is a Florida statute that regulates all individuals and companies who are attempting to collect monies owed. This includes, without limitation, medical bills, product invoices, credit card bills, and mortgage statements, whether current or past due. All businesses that attempt to collect amounts owed from consumers must comply with the FCCPA. The FCCPA provides for statutory damage awards of up to $1,000.00 in individual consumer lawsuits and up to $500,000.00 in consumer class action lawsuits, plus reimbursement of any actual damages caused by the violation, and an award of attorneys’ fees and litigation costs.

Common violations include:

  • Charging amounts that are not-owed, unauthorized, unaccrued, or illegal
  • Billing a consumer who is represented by counsel
  • Charging for amounts that should have been or were in-fact paid by insurance
  • Charging “Estimated Fees”
  • Contacting a consumer’s workplace to collect a debt

Common violators include:

  • Banks and Mortgage Servicers
  • Debt Collectors
  • Car Dealerships
  • Doctors & Clinic

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act

The TCPA protects people like you and me from unethical telephone marketing activities. This includes calls using pre-recorded messages and voicemails, automated text and other unsolicited methods of contact. You could be rewarded up to $1,000 per unsolicited call under the TCPA.

Common violations include:

  • Repeatedly calling consumers’ cell phones to advertise for goods or services, without consumers’ consent or after consent has been revoked
  • Repeatedly calling consumers’ cell phones to collect a debt, without consumers’ consent or after consent has been revoked

Common violators include:

  • Banks and Mortgage Servicers
  • Debt Collectors
  • Cruise Companies
  • Insurance Companies
  • Telemarking Companies
  • Department Stores
  • Student Loan Services

FLORIDA UNFAIR AND DECEPTIVE TRADE PRACTICES ACT (“FDUTPA”)

Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA), is likely the broadest consumer protection statute discussed on this page. It is intended to protect consumers and businesses enterprises from unfair methods of competition or unconscionable, deceptive, or unfair acts. A deceptive practice is broadly defined and includes any act or action that is likely to mislead consumers, offend public policy, or is immoral, unethical, oppressive, unscrupulous or substantially injurious to consumers.

Common violations include:

• Misleading Advertisements

• Fraudulent or hidden fees or charges

• Bad faith contracting

• Generally misleading acts

Common violators include:

• All types of businesses and individuals

 

THE FAIR CREDIT REPORTING ACT (“FCRA”)

The FCRA is a federal statute enacted to promote the accuracy, fairness, and privacy of consumer information reported by consumer reporting agencies. The FCRA also regulates the collection, dissemination, and use of consumer information. All companies or individuals who report delinquent or pending debts to the various reporting agencies must be cognizant of and abide by the FCRA’s strict regulations. If a consumer can demonstrate that the credit reporting agency, information furnisher, or entity using the information willfully violated its obligations under the FCRA, the consumer may be entitled to recover damages.

Common violations include:

  • Publishing illegitimate or excess debts

Common violators include:

  • Banks and Mortgage Servicers
  • Debt Collectors

REAL ESTATE SETTLEMENT PROCEDURES ACT (“RESPA”)

The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) is a federal statute enacted to govern the real estate transactions by requiring that lenders fully inform borrowers about all closing costs, lender servicing and escrow account practices, business relationships between closing service providers and other parties to the transaction. RESPA governs purchase loans, assumptions, refinances, property improvement loans, payoffs, reinstatements, and equity lines of credit.

Common violations include:

  • Charging “estimated fees”
  • Charging excess or unauthorized fees
  • Taking profits or kickbacks from pass-through charges

Common violators include:

  • Banks and Mortgage Servicers

TRUTH IN LENDING ACT (“TILA”)

The Truth in Lending Act (TILA) is a federal law enacted to ensure that consumers are informed in all consumer credit transactions and instruments. Consumer credit transactions include credit cards, mortgages, car loans, equipment loans, and any other transaction where credit is extended to a consumer. TILA requires disclosures about the terms of the transaction and the fees associated with borrowing.

Common violations include:

• Charging “estimated fees”

• Charging excess or unauthorized fees

• Taking profits or kickbacks from pass-through charges Common violators include:

• Banks and Mortgage Servicers

The Fair and Accurate Transactions Act (FACTA)

The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA), is a federal statute designed and implemented to prevent identity theft, by limiting the disclosure of consumer information.

Common violations include:

  • Printing more than the last five digits of a credit card on a receipt
  • Printing a credit card’s expiration date on a receipt

Common violators include:

  • All types of businesses who accept and process credit cards

 

FAIR DEBT COLLECTION PRACTICES ACT (“FDCPA”)

The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (“FDCPA”) is a federal consumer protection statute that regulates debt collectors, including banks, lenders, and mortgage servicers. The FDCPA was enacted to protect consumers and requires strict compliance. Violations may result in statutory damage awards of up to $1,000.00 in individual consumer lawsuits and up to $500,000.00 in class action lawsuits, plus reimbursement of any actual damages caused by the violation, and an award of attorneys’ fees and litigation costs.

Common violations include:

  • Charging amounts that are not-owed, unauthorized, unaccrued, or illegal
  • Failing to inform consumers that their debt is past the statute of limitations and they cannot be sued for it.
  • Failing to inform consumers that making a payment on a debt can revive the statute of limitations.
  • Billing a consumer who is represented by counsel
  • Charging for amounts that should have been or were in-fact paid by insurance
  • Charging “Estimated Fees”
  • Contacting a consumer’s workplace to collect a debt

Common violators include:

  • Banks and Mortgage Servicers
  • Debt Collectors
  • Car Dealerships
  • Doctors & Clinics

Practice Area Contacts

Jordan A. Shaw, Esq.
(954) 933-5083
jshaw@zpllp.com

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Zebersky Payne, LLP – Consumer Lawyers

A foundation of the firm, Zebersky Payne’s team has decades of experience in countless subject matters. With institutional clients ranging from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, Zebersky Payne has successfully litigated matters for and against some of the largest corporations across the United States and the world.

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