Consumer Protection Law
State and federal laws grant consumers certain rights to protect them against unfair business practices and ensure that their privacy is maintained. Not everyone knows what is legal or not, and some businesses may take advantage of this lack of knowledge to serve their own interests. The Brandon consumer protection lawyers at The Law Offices of Michael J. Owen are dedicated to making sure that consumers are able to assert their rights and hold unscrupulous businesses accountable. Going head to head with a big company can be a daunting task, but an experienced business law attorney like Mr. Owen can offer knowledgeable representation if you are in this situation.The Telephone Consumer Protection Act
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA) was enacted in order to put in place federal regulations regarding the conduct of telemarketers, as well as debt collectors. The TCPA limits businesses’ use of automatic telephone dialing systems, or auto-dialers, as well as text messages, faxes, and pre-recorded voice messages. The TCPA also restricts the hours during which these companies may place calls. Absent a consumer’s express consent, it is a violation of the TCPA for a telemarketer or debt collector to:
- Make calls to a cell phone that are initiated by an auto-dialer, artificial voice, or pre-recorded message;
- Solicit or advertise business via an unwelcomed fax; or
- Solicit or advertise business via a text message.
Violations of the TCPA may warrant awarding damages to a consumer that range from $500 to $1,500 for each unlawful action.The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a federal law that regulates debt collection practices in order to avoid abusive and overly aggressive actions in a business’ or agency’s efforts to collect on a debt. Under the FDCPA, companies and their employees are prohibited from using profane language, misrepresenting information, or threatening a debtor as a tactic to collect a debt. They also may not conceal their identity, contact any third parties regarding a debt, make calls from an auto-dialer, or call outside the perimeters of certain hours. Debt collectors found to have violated the FDCPA may face fines of $1,000 or above for each violation. Florida’s Consumer Collection Practices Act contains similar restrictions on debt collectors under state law, as well as expanding limitations on certain creditors’ actions.Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act
Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA) prohibits deceptive, unfair, and unconscionable trade practices as well as unfair methods of competition. This statute grants individuals a private right of action to assert their rights in court. As for actions constituting a deceptive or unfair practice, the FDUTPA prohibits conduct that has been declared unlawful by the Federal Trade Commission, which includes false advertising, misleading or false labeling, identity theft, and misleading or deceptive internet and telemarketing schemes. The FDUTPA places a statute of limitations of four years from the date of an illegal act, or two years from the date of the last payment in an illegal act, whichever is longer. The statute also sets out some exceptions to its applicability, such as in claims, activities involving specific federal or state laws, and actions involving commercial property.Consult a Consumer Protection Lawyer in Brandon
Determining whether a business has violated your rights as a consumer may be a complicated endeavor, and having a knowledgeable attorney who can assess the situation is essential. If you believe that a company has wronged you, the Brandon consumer protection attorneys at The Law Offices of Michael J. Owen can assist you in exploring your legal options. Our office represents people in Tampa, Riverview, and other cities throughout Hillsborough County, as well as elsewhere in Florida. We also can help people who need a foreclosure attorney or guidance in a bankruptcy, real estate. Call 813-502-6768 or contact us online to set up an appointment.