The exact rules and regulations that all debt collectors must follow vary from state to state, and in the state of Florida there is an added layer of protection for consumers in the form of the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (FCCPA). This legislation works as an extension of the federal law known as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
According to the way that the FCCPA is written, Florida consumers are protected by both the FCCPA and the FDCPA, and any if any differences happen to exist between the two pieces of legislation, the consumer is protected by whichever version affords them the most benefit.
So if you are planning to pursue any type of debt collection effort in the state of Florida, not only do you need to be well versed in the specifics of the FDCPA, but you also need to know and understand the FCCPA. In order to help you get a firm grasp on exactly what the FCCPA contains, let’s take a quick look at each type of protection it offers to Florida consumers.
Protection Against Misrepresentation
The FCCPA specifically states that anyone attempting to collect a debt in the state of Florida is forbidden from conducting their collection in a way that would lead the consumer to believe they were a member of law enforcement.
Protection Against Violence
No one collecting a debt in Florida is ever permitted to threaten the use of violence against a consumer that they are attempting to contact or collect from. Using vulgar language and profanity is also illegal.
Protection in the Workplace
Unless a final court order has been handed down regarding a particular debt, collectors are strictly forbidden from contacting anyone at a consumer’s place of employment regarding an outstanding debt or collection effort.
Protection Against Defamation
Debt collectors are also forbidden from sharing details of an outstanding debt with anyone outside of the debtor’s immediate family. It is also illegal to publish the debtor’s name on any type of “deadbeat list” in an effort to publicly shame the debtor, and sending mail with markings on the envelope meant to shame a debtor is also against the law.
Protection for the Families
The FCCPA also offers protection for family members who may be contacted by debt collectors. There are limits on which family members can be contacted and how frequently that contact can be made, and any form of communication must be sure not to cross the line into harassment.
In addition to these protections, it is also illegal for a debt collector to attempt to contact a consumer between the hours of 9 pm and 8 am.
As you can tell, most of these protections are also afforded by the FDCPA, and any debt collector with good intentions already knows that these tactics don’t lead to long-term collection success anyway.
So as long as you are operating on the right side of your own moral code, you are likely going to fall within the regulations stipulated by both the FDCPA and the FCCPA. But it never hurts to know exactly what you can and cannot do regarding debt collection in the state of Florida.