February 28, 2008 If you have gotten behind on your bills recently, you may feel as though your creditors are hounding you. The U.S. Government has provided guidelines for debt collection agencies that are intended to protect private citizens. Florida State Credit Laws are very similar to those in other states. They are designed to protect consumers and are regulated by the Florida State Attorney Generals Office or the Federal Trade Commission.
If you have fallen behind on payments for a personal, family or other household loan, creditors may contact you by mail, fax, telephone or in person. Debt collectors may contact you a reasonable number of times, but not so many times that it can be construed as harassment. Florida State Credit Laws also prevent creditors from calling you at work, if you have made it clear that your employer does not approve, nor can they call at unreasonable times of the day, such as before 8:00 a.m., unless you agree.
Debt collectors are not in any way to threaten or to give you false information, including telling you that there are lawyers involved when there are not. Under Florida State Credit Laws they are not to threaten arrest or tell you that your income will be garnished until the debt is paid, unless they have a legal right to do so.
Following the first attempt to contact you, the debt collector has five days to send you a written notice with the creditors name that you owe, the amount you owe, and what action the company will take if you do not pay. Florida State Credit Laws allow you to dispute a debt if you respond in writing within 30 days of first being contacted. The credit agency is not allowed to contact you again except to send you proof of your debt.
You should also check to make sure that the agency that has contacted you is registered. Some unethical groups will try to collect debts when they have not gone through the proper steps to make themselves legal. If you feel that a debt collector has violated any of these rules, you have the right to file a complaint with the Florida State Attorney Generals Office or the Federal Trade Commission. If you win your case, you may be refunded for damages, as well as attorney and other legal fees.
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