WESLEY CHAPEL, FL. – Joseph J. Jin never wanted to miss important email messages pertaining to business and other important matters, so he set his phone to chime and vibrate so that he could swiftly respond to electronic messages, apparently day or night.
That led to a class-action lawsuit filed May 3 in the Hillsborough County courts against TECO Energy.
In his legal complaint, Jin states he has suffered “annoyance, aggravation, stress and an invasion of privacy” because TECO emailed his monthly electric bills and related past due notices between 9 p.m. and 8 a.m. in violation of Florida’s Consumer Collection Practices Act (FCCPA).
According to the lawsuit, the FCCPA is modeled after the federal Fair Debt Collection Protection Act (FDCPA) established under the Federal Trade Commission. The FDCPA is designed to prohibit unfair, deceptive, and abusive practices in the collection of consumer debts as well as to protect against the invasion of individual privacy.
With numerous exhibits attached to the lawsuit, TECO billing notices are recorded as appearing in Jin’s inbox during July 2020 through January 2021 at 7:54 a.m., 2:28 a.m., 11:56 p.m., 12:56 a.m., 12:11 a.m., and 11:37 p.m.
The FCCPA’s statute 559.72 (17) states, “In collecting consumer debts, no person shall communicate with the debtor between the hours of 9 p.m. and 8 a.m. in the debtor’s time zone without the prior consent of the debtor.” Jin’s lawsuit claims he never consented to TECO communications outside the statute’s allowed time period.
Greenwald, Davidson, and Radbil PLLC of Boca Raton are Jin’s attorneys. They said, “We’re not going to be making any comments on the lawsuit at this time.” Young Kim, attorney at Consumer Law Attorneys in Clearwater serves as Co-Counsel.
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