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Debt Collection Laws in Florida

Florida has two main laws that govern debt collection practices in the state – the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (FCCPA). Here are the key points about these laws:

Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)

The FDCPA is a federal law that applies to third-party debt collectors across the United States. It prohibits debt collectors from using abusive, deceptive, or unfair practices when attempting to collect debts from consumers. Some examples of prohibited actions under the FDCPA include:

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  • Contacting consumers at unreasonable times or places (before 8 am or after 9 pm)
  • Using profane or abusive language
  • Threatening violence or harm
  • Engaging in harassment or oppressive behavior
  • Making false or misleading statements
  • Communicating with third parties about the debt (with some exceptions)

The FDCPA covers personal, family, and household debts, but not business debts. Consumers can file lawsuits against debt collectors who violate the FDCPA and may be awarded damages. 17

Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (FCCPA)

The FCCPA is a state law that supplements the FDCPA and provides additional protections for Florida consumers. Unlike the FDCPA, the FCCPA applies to both third-party debt collectors and original creditors. 7

Some key provisions of the FCCPA include:

  • Prohibiting the disclosure of a consumer’s debt to any person except the debtor’s family or with the debtor’s permission10
  • Prohibiting communication with a debtor’s employer before obtaining final judgment, unless the debtor gives permission10
  • Prohibiting the use of profane, obscene, or willfully abusive language10
  • Requiring debt collectors to provide adequate identification and disclosure of the debt5
  • Prohibiting communication with a debtor who is represented by an attorney, with some exceptions10

The FCCPA also requires all consumer debt collectors, including those located out-of-state, to register with the Florida Office of Financial Regulation. Unregistered debt collectors may face fines and penalties. 79Consumers who are harmed by violations of the FCCPA can file lawsuits against the debt collector or creditor. If successful, they may be awarded actual damages, statutory damages up to $1,000, punitive damages, and attorney’s fees and costs. 57

Both the FDCPA and FCCPA aim to protect consumers from abusive, deceptive, and unfair debt collection practices in Florida. Consumers should be aware of their rights under these laws and take appropriate action if they believe a debt collector has violated them.

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