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Florida Man Sues Debt Collectors for Harassment, Calls to Family and False Threats

July 23, 2010

As Corona debt collector harassment attorneys, we were interested but not surprised to read an article about a Florida man who sued after repeated legal violations by debt collectors. Hernando Today reported July 21 on a lawsuit by Anthony Zoda of central Florida, who sued Hudson Valley Collection Agency after a series of actions he alleges violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and Florida's Consumer Protection Practices Act. Zoda does not dispute the debt he owed, which was a car loan for a Range Rover, on whose payments he later fell behind. But he was surprised by the lengths to which the collection agency went, including calling about once an hour over a 36-hour period and contacting family members in other states.

Zoda got behind on payments after his work truck needed repairs and other financial problems. He was still hoping to work something out with the bank that had the loan, Wachovia, when he got a call informing him that the debt had been sold to Hudson Valley. Over the next weeks, he says he logged about three dozen calls in a 36-hour period, including calls very late at night. When she reached Zoda, she told him he would be arrested for stealing the Range Rover if he didn't pay -- a legal impossibility. During one call, the debt collector told Zoda that she had seen lists of his friends and family through his MySpace page. Shortly afterward, Zoda got calls from his mother, his stepfather and two friends saying the collection agency had called to repeat the false threat of arrest. He also said the caller badmouthed his mother for failing to lend Zoda the money to repay the debt. The Range Rover was eventually repossessed, but Zoda is now suing Hudson Valley in Orlando federal court for $1,500 in damages.

The article didn't specifically note this, but our Cypress unfair debt collection lawyers counted three to four violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act described in the article, in addition to any violations of the Florida statute. It is illegal for debt collectors to call after 9 p.m., your time; to threaten legally impossible actions; to call repeatedly or continuously; and to contact anyone other than the debtor, any spouse or any attorney. Unfortunately, this is not unusual -- debt collectors routinely break these and other parts of the law, because they know it works. They have also gotten especially aggressive recently thanks to the bad economy, which makes it harder than usual for many people to make ends meet and have enough left over to pay debts. As a result, the FTC recently reported a 50% increase in complaints about debt collectors between 2008 and 2009.

If you believe you're a victim of harassment or abusive practices by debt collectors, you should call Howard Law PC for help. Dishonest collection agencies continue breaking the law because they know very few consumers understand their rights and how to enforce those rights. Our Brea abusive debt collection attorneys help clients assert those rights, stopping the illegal practices and helping them to collect financial compensation for the abuses. Under the federal FDCPA, victims may claim up to $1,000 for violations, plus attorney fees and any actual financial damage the behavior caused, such as the cost of a new phone line. Here in California, they may also be able to collect damages under our state's Rosenthal FDCPA. This is true regardless of whether you actually owed the debt.

For a free, confidential evaluation of your debt collection case with an experienced lawyer, you should call Howard Law for help. To set up a meeting, call us toll-free at 1-800-872-5925 or send us a message online.