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Florida debtors have options in handling debt collectors

A Floridian facing mounting debt has likely encountered his share of debt collectors. He may be behind on his bills due to financial challenges beyond his control, and the persistence of debt collectors may be frustrating for a debtor who is trying to determine how best to tackle his current financial situation. Whether a Floridian is preparing for bankruptcy or not, it can help to have some strategies and knowledge about how to handle communications with debt collectors.

A debt collector is not permitted to contact a debtor at an unreasonable time of day, such as late at night or very early in the morning, under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The FDCPA also prohibits debt collectors from harassing debtors. Debt collectors may not use threats of violence, profanity or other unfair tactics, such as contacting a debtor by postcard.

A debtor does not have to communicate with a debt collector. A debtor may notify a debt collector in writing that she wants to end all communication with the debt collector. Thereafter, the debt collector may only communicate with the debtor to notify her that the debt collector is filing a lawsuit or to notify her that all communications will now stop.

Debt collectors do have the option to pursue garnishment of a debtor's wages or bank account. A debt collector must first file a lawsuit and obtain a court judgment against the debtor to do so, however.

A debtor who is facing a lawsuit that may result in wage garnishment, who has been unfairly approached by a debt collector or who has other questions about debt collectors and their practices, may wish to seek legal counsel to discuss his or her rights and options.

Source: FindLaw, "FAQs: How to Deal with Debt Collection Agencies", accessed Oct. 23, 2015

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