DEBT RELIEF LAW CENTER
Attorney N. James Turner Can Help
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Under Florida law, and more specifically the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (“FCCPA”), a “debt collector” is defined as: “any person who uses any instrumentality of commerce within this state, . . . in any business the principal purpose of which is the collection of debts, or who regularly collects or attempts to collect, directly or indirectly, debts owed or due or asserted to be owed or due another. The term ’debt collector’ includes any creditor who, in the process of collecting her or his own debts, uses any name other than her or his own which would indicate that a third person is collecting or attempting to collect such debts.”
So, the FCCPA applies to any person or persons, collecting his/her own debts. Under that broad definition, the FCCPA would apply to a law firm attempting to collect its own fees, as well as the employees engaged in such collection activity on the law firm‘s behalf.
Robin Morgan retained the law firm of Arnold & Wilkins. Morgan did not pay the law firm and they sued her is Small Claims Court. She counterclaimed against the law firm, as well as the attorney and his assistant, individually, for violations of the FCCPA. The law firm and the individuals moved to dismiss the counterclaim because they were not “debt collectors” under the FCCPA. Morgan responded to the motion to dismiss by arguing that the FCCPA applies not only to a collection agency, but to any party seeking to collect a consumer debt. The trial court granted the motion to dismiss finding that the FCCPA only apples to debt collectors not creditors collecting their own accounts as Morgan has alleged counter-defendants were doing.
On appeal, the law firm and the individual counterdefendants conceded that the trial court was in error when it ruled that FCCPA pertains only to debt collectors, however, they argued that that the trial court reached the right result for the wrong reason because Morgan’s debt was not a debt within the purview of the FCCPA since the debt did not flow from an extension of credit. The appellate court reversed holding that that the obligation to the law firm was a debt covered by the FCCPA. Morgan v. Wilkins, 74 So. 3d 179 (Fla. 1st DCA 2011).
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Orlando Consumer Rights Lawyer - providing aggressive and affordable professional services to consumers who have been victims of Debt Collector Harassment by debt collectors and Credit Repair, to residents in Orlando, Kissimmee, and throughout the Central Florida Area.