Fort Lauderdale residents may believe credit card debt is a necessity in today’s economy, but when life circumstances change, even meeting the minimum payments can become difficult or impossible. According to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Florida debt collectors must not employ abusive, deceptive or unfair collection practices against a debtor in an attempt to collect the debt. The state of Florida also regulates debt collection practices. Those who are being contacted by creditors should be aware of the protections that they are allowed under the law.
According to Florida statute 559.72, creditors attempting to collect consumer debtsmay not harass, abuse or mislead debtors. Illegal actions include obscene language, threats of violence, and repeated phone calls intended to cause irritation. The creditor is not allowed to publicly publish or threaten to publish the debtor’s name in association with the debt in an attempt to enforce collection.
Creditors must never suggest that they represent a government agency or law enforcement, or that the communication is authorized or approved by a government agency or attorney when it is not. This includes creating forms or designing stationary that imitates legal or government documents. Creditors may not conceal or misrepresent their identities to trick debtors into paying the costs of collect calls or telegrams.
This is not an all-inclusive list of methods that are illegal for creditors to use in the attempt to collect debts, but it does highlight the types of behaviors that are considered creditor harassment or abuse. A debtor who believes a creditor has broken the law while attempting to collect the debt can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, and may also be able to file a successful lawsuit against the creditor.