When it comes to consumer protection law, experience counts.
Consumer protection laws arise under both state and federal statutes. These laws regulate activities such as the extension of credit to individuals for personal use, the collection of consumer debt and other interactions between businesses and individuals. These laws are complex and the way Courts and administrative agencies interpret these laws is constantly changing. When selecting an attorney to handle your consumer law matter, be sure that the attorney you select has a firm understanding of all state and federal laws implicated by your specific situation, as well as how those laws are currently being interpreted by the Courts in your jurisdiction.
At Kuhn Raslavich, we pride ourselves on always being on the cutting edge of consumer law issues. If you have experienced collection efforts you believe to be improper or abusive, Kuhn Raslavich has the knowledge and experience to help protect your rights under state and federal consumer protection law. Contact Kuhn Raslavich today for a free, no obligation consultation.
The Law You Need To Know
While there are many consumer protection laws, a great deal of consumer litigation arises under just a handful of state and federal laws. The following is brief introduction to some of the more frequently litigated statutes.
The TCPA is a federal law that regulates many forms of telephone and facsimile communications. Among other things, the TCPA prohibits the placement of telephone calls using an automatic telephone dialing system, or the placing of prerecorded/artificial voice calls to cellular telephones without the consent of the called party. The TCPA provides for statutory damages in the amount of $500 for each call made in violation of the statute and up to $1,500 for each call found to be a “knowing or willful” violation. Frequently litigated issues in TCPA cases include what type of telephone equipment falls within the scope of the statute, how consent may be obtained and revoked, and what constitutes a “knowing or willful” violation. When faced with a TCPA issue, it is best to hire an attorney with experience litigating TCPA cases in your jurisdiction.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is a federal law that regulates the collection of consumer debt by debt collectors. The FDCPA is a complex and frequently litigated statute that both provides consumers with certain rights, and imposes certain obligations and restrictions upon debtor collectors. In the event that a provision of the FDCPA is violated by a debt collector, the law provides that the consumer may recover up to $1,000 in statutory damages, actual damages sustained as a result of the violation, and attorney’s fees and cost. Examples of debt collector conduct which may violate the FDCPA include contacting a consumer directly when the debt collector knows the consumer is represented by counsel, employing abusive or harassing collection methods, and failing to provide the consumer with a notification of his or her right to dispute a debt within five days of an initial communication. All of the FDCPA’s restrictions apply regardless of whether or not the debt is owed. If your business has been threatened or sued for its collection efforts, or if you believe that you have been subject to unlawful collection activities, make sure you consult with an attorney with experience litigating FDCPA cases in your jurisdiction.
The FCRA is a federal law that regulates consumer reporting agencies (e.g. TransUnion, Equifax and Experian), users of consumer reports (also known as “credit reports”), furnishers of credit information, and preparers of investigative reports (commonly known as “background check” companies). The FCRA is a lengthy and complex statute that provides for actual damages as well as attorney’s fees and costs in the case of a negligent violation. Statutory damages may also be recoverable in the event of a willful violation. Examples of conduct prohibited by the FCRA include furnishing a consumer report for an impermissible purpose, and failing to follow reasonable procedures to ensure maximum possible accuracy of consumer reports. When investigating your potential claim or exposure under the FCRA, be sure to consult with an attorney who has handled FCRA cases in your jurisdiction.
The FCCPA is a Florida state law that regulates the collection of consumer debt in the state of Florida. Unlike the federal FDCPA, the FCCPA applies to all persons and entities that collect or attempt to collect consumer debt in Florida (not just “debt collectors” as defined by the FDCPA). Among other things, the FCCPA prohibits conduct which can reasonably be expected to harass a debtor or any member of his or her family, the use of profane, obscene, vulgar, or abusive language, and any knowing attempt to enforce an illegitimate debt. The FCCPA provides that the consumer may recover up to $1,000 in statutory damages, any actual damages incurred along with attorney’s fees and cost for a proven violation. If you have questions about the FCCPA, contact Kuhn Raslavich today.
The FDUTPA is a Florida state law that regulates those engaged in “trade or commerce” and prohibits the use of deceptive or unfair trade practices. If an deceptive or unfair trade practice has caused a consumer to incur damages, the FDUTPA allows the consumer to recover those damages as well as their attorney’s fees and costs. Conduct which may violate the FDUTPA includes the use of false representations to procure payment for goods or services. Frequently litigated issues in FDUTPA cases include what activity falls within the scope of “trade or commerce” and the manner by which actual damages are to be calculated. At Kuhn Raslavich, we have the knowledge and experience needed to help you understand and evaluate your potential claim or exposure under the FDUTPA.