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Debt collectors prohibited from harassing Florida consumers

A Florida debtor may be under a tremendous amount of stress. Debt collectors may add to that stress with unwarranted, and sometimes illegal, behavior. Fortunately, debtors are protected from certain behavior by debt collectors under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. A debtor who is preparing for bankruptcy may find it helpful to be aware of his or her rights under the FDCPA with regard to debt collectors and their practices.

Under the FDCPA, debt collectors may not abuse debtors, oppress or harass them in an effort to obtain payment for a debt. Harassing behavior may include the use of profane or obscene language, or violence or harm in a threat of repossession against a debtor or his or her family. A debt collector who repeatedly calls a debtor intending to annoy or abuse the debtor, or any person answering the phone, may also be in violation of the FDCPA. Calls from debt collectors who do not identify themselves are prohibited under the FDCPA, as is publishing a list of people who refuse to pay their debts.

Debt collectors are also not allowed to use deceptive, misleading or false practices in the effort to obtain payment on a debt. For example, under the FDCPA, debt collectors may not misrepresent how much a person owes on his or her car. Additionally, it is prohibited for debt collectors to make false threats to have a person arrested or make threats based on actions the debt collector has no intention of pursuing.

A debtor who is concerned that he or she is being victimized by a debt collector using illegal practices may wish to consult with an attorney regarding his or her rights.

Source: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, "What is harassment by a debt collector?," accessed Jan. 8, 2016

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