Financial institutions should be very careful when contacting delinquent Florida customers. Unlike in most states where financial institutions do not have to worry about being sued for pursuing delinquent accounts, Florida has the Florida Consumer Collections Practices Act (“FCCPA”), which applies to financial institutions and collection agencies.
In Forbes v. Merrick Bank Corp., Merrick Bank Corp. (“Merrick”) was sued for violating the FCCPA for sending an email offering to reduce his payments after the delinquent customer informed Merrick that he was represented by counsel. 23 Fla. L. Weekly Supp. 804a (9th Jud. Cir. 2016). Merrick argued that the email did not fall under the FCCPA as it was not an attempt to collect a debt. Id. The trial court agreed and the delinquent customer filed an appeal. Id. On appeal the circuit court agreed with the delinquent customer, finding that “the least-sophisticated consumer could consider the email as one sent to collect a debt.”
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