In 1978, in response to what many people saw as unfair debt collection practices, Congress passed the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
This law set guidelines for who may collect a debt, how they may go about collecting it, what forms of communication are allowed, and how debt collectors must conduct themselves when attempting to collect a debt.
Thanks to this law, consumers were suddenly protected from unscrupulous debt collectors that used any and all means at their disposal to collect debts. Furthermore, it gave the consumer the power to file a lawsuit if they believed the debt collection company had breached the FDCPA laws.
Read on to understand how the FDCPA protects consumers, what debt collectors can and cannot do, and how long a consumer is able to file a lawsuit against a debt collector before the statute of limitations expires.
We’ll also discuss how the state of Florida takes this one step further with the FCCPA—the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act—and how working with reputable credit repair services in Miamican help you get inaccurate items removed from your credit report.
What Does the FDCPA Do?
The FDCPA protects American consumers from unfair debt collection practices by setting limits on how a debt collector may attempt to collect a debt, such as:
Limiting the hours of the day a debt collector may attempt to contact you to between 8:00 AM. and 9:00 PM
Stopping debt collectors from calling your place of employment if you’ve told them you cannot be contacted while at work
Prohibiting debt collectors from attempting to embarrass you by mailing letters that imply on the outside of the envelope that you owe money
Curtailing who a debt collector may speak with
Preventing debt collectors from harassing you, such as by calling you multiple times per day or using aggressive and threatening tactics
Making it illegal for debt collectors to impersonate the government, a law enforcement agency, or a lawyer when attempting to persuade you to pay a debt
Should a debt collector break any of the above regulations or other statutes listed in the full text of the law, a consumer has the right to file a lawsuit against the debt collector. For this reason, many debt collectors are careful in how they communicate, lest they find themselves on the wrong end of a lawsuit.
The statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit is one year from the time the debt collector violated the law. Any attempt to file after this one year period will be thrown out of court, as the ability to file suit has expired.
What Does Florida’s FCCPA Do?
Recognizing the need to further protect consumers, Florida has its own law regarding debt collection that extends the aforementioned statute of limitations for filing suit against a debt collector to two years. Furthermore, it allows the consumer to file suit against anyone, not just those who are registered debt collectors.
Florida's law also allows consumers to recover greater damages in a lawsuit in the form of unlimited punitive damages.
What If the Debt Isn’t Mine?
The debt collector working on behalf of a speedy cash collections agency is highly unlikely to care if you tell them the debt is not yours. At the end of the day, the collector will follow what their files tell them in regard to who owes which debt.
In order to have inaccuracies removed from your credit report, you’ll need to spend hours on the phone with whoever issued the debt, the credit reporting bureaus, and the debt collectors. The goal is to obtain the necessary paperwork to prove the debt is not yours, and the first step is getting your credit report in Florida.
Fortunately, this process can be made infinitely easier by working with a qualified credit repair company such as The Phenix Group. We’ll handle all the heavy lifting when it comes to calls and paperwork and help you clear your name and credit report. By having a credit report free from inaccuracies, you can apply for the loans you need with confidence.
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