The complaint for this lawsuit alleges that SunTrust Bank has violated both the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (FCCPA), when the bank repeatedly called plaintiff Edwin Rivera, trying to collect a debt from him.
Rivera, a resident of Florida, allegedly incurred a debt with SunTrust Bank. When he fell behind on his monthly payments, Suntrust began calling his cell phone in an attempt to collect the debt.
First, the complaint claims that SunTrust did not have the right to call Rivera’s cell phone. The TCPA forbids companies—including creditors and debt collectors—from making non-emergency calls to consumer cell phones through the use of an automated dialing system or an artificial or pre-recorded voice. The complaint claims that SunTrust used an automated dialing system because there was a pause after Rivera picked up the phone before a person came on the line. Also, the company left Rivera at least one voicemail using an artificial or pre-recorded voice.
Second, Rivera asked the bank to stop calling his cell phone, the complaint claims, but it did not. This violates both the TCPA and the Florida debt collection law, the FCCPA. In total, the bank called Rivera at least forty times between August 2016 and the present.
Even if SunTrust were to claim it had Rivera’s consent to call originally, the complaint says he revoked that permission by asking them not to call. And under the FCCPA, the refusal to stop calling could “reasonably be expected to harass” Rivera.
Third, the bank called late at night, a violation of the Florida law which specifies that debt collection calls should be made between eight in the morning and nine at night. The complaint claims that it called on July 11, 2016 at 10:16, on January 14, 2018 at 10:37, and again on January 14 at 10:38.
SunTrust’s actions aren’t regulated by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) because it’s an original creditor and not a third-party debt collector. However, the Florida law (the FCCPA) has a broader definition of debt collectors that includes SunTrust.
The complaint asks for statutory and treble damages for the TCPA violations, actual and punitive damages for the FCCPA violations, plus attorneys’ fees and costs.Article Type: Lawsuit