Consumer

Protection

 

Foreclosure Defense (click here)

Loan Modification & Short Sale

 

When facing the threat of a foreclosure, it may seem like you have no options. However, many times it is not in the lender’s interest to foreclose on your home. Banks are not in the business of being property owners, they are in the business of collecting interest on loans. In other words, the bank doesn’t want your home, just your money. As a result, in certain circumstances it may be more beneficial for the bank to modify your loan, or agree to a short sale (accepting less money than is owed on the loan so that you can sell the property).

 

If the bank agrees to modify your loan, then the foreclosure case will be dismissed. As long as you make your modified payments, you will not have to face a foreclosure. Think of this as a type of refinance of your current loan, at a more affordable rate or monthly payment. Alternatively, a short sale will also help you avoid a foreclosure judgment, and many times you can receive an incentive from the bank for agreeing to sell the property. 

 

However, while both a loan modification and short sale are alternatives to a foreclosure judgment, there are also significant consequences. For example, often times the bank will modify your loan by extended the maturity date. This means that while you’re making a lower monthly payment, you may end paying more in interest over the life of the loan. Additionally, a short sale could have tax implications if the lender discharges or waives the deficiency balance. The lender will also report the short sale to the credit bureaus, which will adversely affect your credit rating. 

 

 

 

Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

 

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”), is a federal statute that prohibits debt collectors from engaging in certain types of behavior when collecting debts. The FDCPA is a highly technical law, and there are many ways that a violation can occur. However, the most common violations include:

 

  • Using abusive or profane language when speaking with a consumer

  • Contacting a consumer directly who is represented by an attorney

  • Misrepresentation of the amount due

  • Threatening arrest or legal action that is actually not permitted by law

  • Reporting false information to a credit report

  • Communicating with the debtor’s family, friends or employer

 

Under the FDCPA, you may be entitled to statutory damages of up to $1,000 for a violation, in addition to any actual damages you might incur. The FDCPA also provides for attorney’s fees, which means that the Court will require the debt collector to pay your attorney’s fees if they commit a violation. 

 

 

 

Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act

 

The Florida Consumer Protection Act (“FCCPA”), is modeled after the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”). Both statutes provide Florida consumers with significant protection against unlawful debt collection activities. Under the FCCPA, debt collectors are prohibited from engaging in the following conduct:

 

  • pretending to be a police officer and acting on behalf of a government agency

  • using or threatening to use force or violence

  • communicating , or threatening to communicate, with your employer about the debt, unless they have taken a judgment against you

  • if you have disputed the debt, reporting, or threatening to report, derogatory information about a disputed debt to a credit reporting agency without also disclosing the existence of your dispute

  • contacting third parties about your debt

  • harassing you or your family about the debt

  • contact you between the hours of 9 p.m. and 8 a.m. without your permission

  • holding themselves out as attorneys, or misrepresenting to you that an attorney is involved (this is also a potential violation of the FDCPA)

  • filing a lawsuit against you in the wrong venue (suing you in a distant court to make it difficult for you to defend the lawsuit)

  • sending you communications, such as forms and “summons” designed to look like attorney letters or government documents

  • using obscene, profane, vulgar, or abusive language when communicating with you or your family

  • threatening or attempting to enforce an illegitimate debt against you, such as a debt that has expired under the statute of limitations

  • knowingly hiring an unlicensed CCA to collect a debt

  • mailing you documents that contain embarrassing words or phrases on a postcard or envelope, and

  • communicating directly with you when they know you are represented by an attorney.

 

Under the FCCPA, you may be entitled to statutory damages of up to $1,000 for a violation, in addition to any actual damages you might incur. The FCCPA also provides for attorney’s fees, which means that the Court will require the bank or debt collector to pay your attorney’s fees if they commit a violation. 

 

If you believe that a debt collector has committed a violation of the FCCPA, call us today at (239) 214-6230 for a free in-person consultation. 

 

 

Telephone Consumer Protection Act

 

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”), is a federal statute that was passed in 1991. The TCPA is a powerful tool to help you fight back against unlawful debt collection activity, and unsolicited telemarketing calls. Specifically, the TCPA prevents debt collectors and telemarketers from using an automatic telephone dialing system (“ATDS”), to contact you on your cellphone without your consent. One of the hallmark indicators of an ATDS is when you answer your phone, hear silence followed by a click, and then a live person begins speaking with you. 

 

Damages for violation of the TCPA can be severe. The law provides statutory damages (penalties) of $500 per call, which can be increased up to $1,500 per call for willful violations. Many times, a debt collector makes hundreds of phone calls in violation of the TCPA, which can result in significant damages. In addition to damages, the law also provides for the recovery of attorney’s fees. That means that if we’re successful in proving a TCPA violation, the defendant (debt collector or telemarketer) is required to pay all of your attorney’s fees.