Any outstanding financial obligation, which is past due, unpaid, or in default owed by consumers, may lead to collections attempts by either the principal lender or an outside collections agency. At the federal level, a large body of consumer protection laws have been enacted, including The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which detail the prohibited and required actions in regards to creditors and collections agencies. As a consumer, however, federal laws and state laws per a given state jurisdiction widely vary in each specific instance. Failures to remedy debts properly, or attempting to remedy debts in an unfavourable manner, are all potentially avoidable with the guidance of an attorney.
In the state of Florida, the Office of the Attorney General of Florida is charged with enforcing the laws and statutes related to the regulation of debt collection practices. In the state of Florida, a debt collector is defined as simply any person involved in regularly attempting to collect debts owed by consumers. The laws regarding debt collection in the state of Florida mirror those regulated by the Federal Trade Commission in most cases.
The state of Florida has specific laws covering debt collections practices. These laws are in place to protect consumers from harassment, intimidation, or other damaging actions taken by debt collectors. The laws in the state of Florida mirror those established by the FTC in most cases, which include appropriate methods of contact, stopping collections attempts, and other remedies for consumers.
Collections attempts cannot occur at an interval or frequency that can be considered harassing by a reasonable person. This would include contact before 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m.
Harassment by debt collectors, which if deemed harassing by a reasonable person, is illegal in the state of Florida. Forwarding complaints of harassment to the attorney general or the Federal Trade Commission through an attorney will stop illegal or harassing debt collection actions.
Debt negotiation and settlement is a highly unique process specific to each consumer debt. Having an attorney oversee the settlement process is essential to obtaining any form of a favorable outcome. Concerns an attorney can address for consumers during the debt negotiation phase and during any settlement agreement include:
Debt settlement and collection laws are complex. The legality of many debt collection agencies or debt buyers may even come under scrutiny in some cases. Having an attorney look into debt collectors making collection attempts is important. An experienced Debt Settlement Lawyer can verify the veracity of their claims, as well as determine the appropriate legal strategy for resolving outstanding debts. In many cases, debts are bought and resold several times at significantly reduced rates, which opens the door for consumers to resolve outstanding debts at highly discounted rates. Having an attorney negotiate these settlements, as well as ensuring that the agreed upon settlement and credit reporting actions are legally enforceable, is important.