Florida debt collection consumer protection laws exist to protect you, the consumer, from crooked debt collection practices. The problem is, however, that they can only protect you if you are familiar with them yourself. We’ve talked before about the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act before including what it means to you as a consumer, but the state of Florida also has their own debt collection consumer protection laws that you should be familiar with.
Florida Debt Collection Consumer Protection Laws
Firstly, if you haven’t read our article on the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, then you can read about it here: Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
In short, the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act was designed by the federal government to outline fair and illegal debt collection practices to protect consumers rights and to prevent the influence of unfair debt collection practices on personal bankruptcies, marital instability, the loss of jobs, and invasions of individual privacy.
In addition to the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the state of Florida has also enacted a state law (the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act) which supplements the federal law and further outlines additional practices of debt collection which are forbidden under Florida state law.
So, you may be asking why Florida enacted their own debt collection consumer protection laws. The reason is that the federal law only protects against abusive collections activities by debt collectors and third-party debt buyers, it does not protect against debt collection attempts by the original creditor. Unlike the federal debt collection consumer protection law, the law enacted by the state of Florida also protects against abusive collections practices undertaken by the original creditor.
Specific Prohibitions Under the FCCPA
The Florida Consumer Collections Practices Act prohibits creditors and debt collectors from taking part in any abusive, unfair, harassing, fraudulent, misleading, or deceptive practices when attempting to collect a debt. Under this act, just a few of the prohibited actions outlined include:
- Posing as a police officer or claiming to be acting on behalf of a government agency.
- Using force or violence or threatening to use force or violence.
- Communicating with your employer or threatening to communicate with your employer about the debt in question if they have not taken a judgment against you.
- Threatening to report or actually reporting negative information about a debt that you have disputed to a credit reporting agency without also informing this agency of your dispute.
- Contacting a third party in reference to your debt.
- Harassing you or your family about the debt
- Contacting you between 9 pm and 8 am about your debt unless you have specifically asked them to do so.
- Posing as attorneys or lying to you about an attorney being involved with the case when they are not.
- Filing a lawsuit against you in a court that is not local to you in order to make it more difficult for you to appear in court to defend the lawsuit.
- Contacting you through documents, forms, or “summons” that are intentionally designed to appear as government documents or attorney communications.
- Using profanity, obscenities, or vulgar or abusive language when communicating with you or your family members in reference to a debt.
- Threatening to or attempting to enforce an illegitimate debt against you, for example, a debt that has expired under the statute of limitations.
- Purposefully hiring a CCA that is not licensed to collect a debt.
- Communicating/mailing documents to you that contain embarrassing content on a postcard or envelope, and
- Communicating directly with you when they have already been informed that you are being represented by an attorney.
What Should You Do If Your Rights Have Been Violated?
If your rights as a consumer have been violated, under Florida’s state fair debt collections practices law, you can legally file a lawsuit against the debt collector in question seeking any actual damages, any statutory damages, punitive damages if the judge so decides, and court costs and attorney fees. The first step in doing this is to contact a reputable attorney who has experience handling Florida debt collection consumer protection laws and the violation of them.
In the state of Florida, when your rights under the Florida debt collection consumer protection laws have been violated you also have the right to file a formal complaint with the Florida Office of Financial Regulation.
If your rights have also been violated under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the debt collector in question was not the original creditor, you can also file a lawsuit under the federal law as well as the state law.
Have Your Florida Debt Collection Consumer Protection Laws Been Violated?
If you feel that you have had your Florida debt collection consumer protection laws violated you need an attorney on your side who is willing to stand up for what’s right. With multiple large consumer protection cases under their belt, Weidner Law are ready and willing to stand up for you today! Just pick up the phone and give us a call at 727-954-8752 or fill in our online contact form here to request a callback!