Florida Debt Collection Laws: Simplified

No one ever wants to be in debt. Even more so, nobody hopes to be chased down by debt collectors employing tactics that are unfair, abusive, or fraudulent. To ensure you’re always protected, you must be aware of your rights under Florida’s debt collection laws. 

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Florida Debt Collection Laws: Simplified

Debt isn’t uncommon, and many people can remedy the effect it has on their credit score through a company like the Phenix Group that helps with credit repair in Miami Beach. But while we’re settling what we owe, many of us might find ourselves on the radar of creditors and debt collectors at some point. They might call us, send us an email, or even visit us–but if they do so too often or cross the line, it could be deemed as harassment—and might even be fully illegal. 

This is why it’s important to know the different Florida debt collection laws, namely the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (FCCPA), and the rights they afford you to ensure that your debt is demanded humanely. Both laws outline methods that debt collectors may or may not use to collect a debt and the consequences they’ll face should you report them doing something prohibited. 

The FDCPA is a federal law that applies to the whole of the U.S., while the FCCPA is a local statute that extends the scope and limitations of the FDCPA as it encompasses both debt collectors and creditors and protects those whose debts are in collection.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

The FDCPA is a federal law that dictates what debt collectors can and cannot do to collect debts. For example, under the FDCPA, creditors aren’t allowed to disclose information about any type of debt to a third party, call you at your place of employment, or engage in any abusive activity to force someone to pay for a debt.

The law is comprehensive, but it does have some shortcomings, particularly to whom it applies. It only concerns debt collectors and some third-party debt buyers; it doesn’t cover the collection activities of an original creditor.

The Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act

The FCCPA supplements the FDCPA, providing even more protection to consumers in Florida. It even includes regulations that apply to original creditors.

Prohibited Debt Collection Practices in Florida under the FCCPA

Instead of wondering about what you should not say to debt collectors to protect yourself, you should be aware of the practices that these institutions aren’t allowed to engage in. The FDCPA and the FCCPA prohibit creditors and debt collectors from using abusive, unfair, fraudulent, and misleading collection methods. These include:

  • Impersonating a police officer or a government agency representative

  • Using or threatening to use force or violence

  • Harassing you or your family about a debt

  • Using obscene, profane, vulgar, or abusive language when communicating with your or your family

  • Speaking with a third party about your debt

  • Contacting you between 9:00 PM and 5:00 AM without your permission

  • Communicating with you directly knowing that you have legal representation

  • Reporting or threatening to report derogatory information about a disputed debt to a consumer agency without disclosing any disputes you’ve made

  • Enforcing on threatening an illegitimate debt against you

  • Misrepresenting themselves as an attorney or lying about the involvement of one

  • Sending you communications designed to mimic official attorney or government documents

  • Hiring an unlicensed CCA to collect on a debt

There are other prohibited behaviors, which is why it’s best to consult credit experts or lawyers to ensure that you’re covered and protected.

What to Do if a Creditor or Debt Collector Violates the Law

If a creditor or a debtor violates the FDCPA or FCCPA, you can file a lawsuit against them. Under the latter law, a successful case can award victims with actual damages, statutory damages (not exceeding $1,000), punitive damages (at the judge’s discretion), and any attorneys’ fees or costs.

Alternatively, you can file a complaint with Florida’s Office of Financial Regulation and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). These agencies will look into the complaint and investigate the company or person to determine the occurrence of unfair or illegal practices. If they find a cause, the offices may take action against the accused to protect the public.

Final Thoughts

No one ever wants to be in debt. Even more so, nobody hopes to be chased down by debt collectors employing tactics that are unfair, abusive, or fraudulent. To ensure you’re always protected, you must be aware of your rights under Florida’s debt collection laws. 

This way, you can repay your unpaid dues without worry. After you do, though, comes another challenge—repairing your credit score. Fortunately, this doesn’t have to be too difficult, either; all you need is help from a reliable credit repair company like The Phenix Group. Book a free consultation to get started!

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