Creditor Laws in Florida

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    • The State of Florida has specific laws regarding creditor collections and debtor's rights called the Florida Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FL Stat. §559). The State of Florida has supplemented federal law to protect consumers from creditor harassment. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (15 USCA § 1692) conveys protections to debtors from unfair collection practices such as, but not limited to: phone calls made before 8am and after 9pm, statements or letters that purport to file criminal charges and attempts to collect a debt after being notified of a bankruptcy filing.

    Broader provisions

    • In the State of Florida, the parties and definitions of those attempting to collect a debt includes "creditors" over and above the federal protections from "collectors." Furthermore, Florida law prohibits debt collectors or their agents from a variety of misrepresentation (such as pretending to be a law enforcement official), and proscribes publication of debtor lists and unfair contact with third parties (such as employers). It also bars third party debt collectors from engaging in collections attempts by contacting the debtor directly after the original creditor is given notice of a debtor's legal representation.

    Prohibited practices

    • Under the Florida Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FFDCPA), debtors are protected from: fraudulent representation as a law enforcement officer or government agent, threats of violence or force, threats to tell the debtor's employer about the debt and the debtor's creditworthiness, use of profanity or obscene language, attempts to collect an invalid debt, attempts to collect a debt from a family member that is not a party to the debt, threats to take or seize assets, frequent harassing communications with family members, mailings of any communication that discloses the debt or attempts to embarrass the debtor, attempts to collect fees incurred while attempting to collect a debt, communication or attempting to communicate outside the hours of 8am to 9pm of the debtor's time zone, and publication of the debtor's name on a "deadbeat" list.

    Violations

    • Creditors or their respective agents who violate provisions of the Florida Fair Debt Collection Practices Act are liable under Florida law and may be sued by the debtor for damages, including punitive damages and compensatory damages. Violations carry a typical award amount of $1,000 per violation, but are concurrent, meaning that the same creditor cannot be sued for each individual violation stemming from one act.

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