DEBT RELIEF LAW CENTER
Attorney N. James Turner Can Help
Stop The Harassment!
WHAT IS THE FAIR DEBT COLLECTION PRACTICES ACT?
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA") requires that debt collectors treat you fairly by prohibiting certain methods of debt collection.
WHAT DEBTS ARE COVERED?
Personal, family, and household debts are covered under the Act. This includes money owed for the purchase of an automobile, for medical care, or for charge accounts.
WHO IS A DEBT COLLECTOR UNDER THE FDCPA?
A debt collector is any person, other than the creditor, who regularly collects debts owed to others. Under a 1986 amendment to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, this includes attorneys who collect debts on a regular basis. The law forbids debt collection harassment.
WHO IS A DEBT COLLECTOR UNDER THE FLORIDA CONSUMER COLLECTION PRACTICES ACT?
Under Florida law, the definition of a "debt collector" is much broader than under its federal counterpart. Under the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (“FCCPA”), a “debt collector” is defined as: “any person who uses any instrumentality of commerce within this state, . . . in any business the principal purpose of which is the collection of debts, or who regularly collects or attempts to collect, directly or indirectly, debts owed or due or asserted to be owed or due another. The term ’debt collector’ includes any creditor who, in the process of collecting her or his own debts, uses any name other than her or his own which would indicate that a third person is collecting or attempting to collect such debts.”
So, the FCCPA applies to any person or persons, collecting his/her own debts. Under that broad definition, the FCCPA would apply to a law or accounting firm attempting to collect its own fees, as well as the employees engaged in such collection activity on the law firm's behalf.
HOW MAY A DEBT COLLECTOR CONTACT YOU?
A collector may contact you in person, by mail, telephone, telegram, or FAX. However, a debt collector may not contact you at unreasonable times or places, such as before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m., unless you agree. A debt collector also may not contact you at work if the collector knows that your employer disapproves.
CAN YOU STOP A DEBT COLLECTOR FROM CONTACTING YOU?
You may stop a collector from contacting you by writing a letter to the collection agency telling them to stop. Once the agency receives your letter, they may not contact you again except to say there will be no further contact. Another exception is that the agency may notify you if the debt collector or creditor intends to take some specific action.
MAY A DEBT COLLECTOR CONTACT ANY PERSON OTHER THAN YOU CONCERNING YOUR DEBT?
If you have an attorney, the debt collector may not contact anyone other than your attorney. If you do not have an attorney, a collector may contact other people, but only to find out where you live and work. Collectors usually are prohibited from contacting such permissible third parties more than one. In most cases, the collector is not permitted to tell anyone other than you and your attorney that you owe money.
WHAT IS THE DEBT COLLECTOR REQUIRED TO TELL YOU ABOUT THE DEBT?
Within five days after you are first contacted, the collector must send you a written notice telling you the money you owe; the name of the creditor to whom you owe the money; and what action to take if you believe you do not owe the money.
MAY A DEBT COLLECTOR CONTINUE TO CONTACT YOU IF YOU BELIEVE YOU DO NOT OWE MONEY?
A debt collector may not contact you if, within 30 days after you are first contacted, you send the collection agency a letter stating you do not owe money. However, a collector can renew collection activities if you are sent proof of the debt, such as a copy of a bill for the amount owed.
WHAT CONTROL DO YOU HAVE OVER PAYMENT OF DEBTS?
If you owe more than one debt, any payment you make must be applied to the debt you indicate. A debt collector may not apply a payment to any debt you believe you do not owe.
WHAT CAN YOU DO IF YOU BELIEVE A DEBT COLLECTOR VIOLATED THE LAW?
You have the right to sue a collector in a state or federal court within one year from the date you believe the law was violated. If your win, you may recover money for the damages you suffered. Court costs and attorney's fees also can be recovered.
STARTED SINCE 1990
Consumer Rights Lawyer - providing aggressive and affordable professional services to consumers who have been victims of debt collection harassment by debt collectors.