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What can be done when a debt collector crosses the line?

One of the most stressful times in an adult's life is when he or she falls behind on bills. The constant calls and threatening letters from a debt collector can add heavy amounts of pressure to an already scary situation. One of the most potent weapons against fear is knowledge. The best thing for anyone in Florida or other states to do is to be aware of what a debt collector can do, and what he or she cannot do.

For those who have fallen behind on any of their bills, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act has rules and regulations in place to protect against creditor harassment. According to this law, anyone attempting to collect on a debt is not allowed to be unfair, deceitful or abusive in any way. This is true whether the person owes on a house, car, credit card, medical bill, or any other type of loan or account.

Once a debt collector calls a person, that collector has five days to send a validation notice by mail. This notice has to state the name of the person to whom the debt is owed, how much is owed, and how a person should proceed if he or she doesn't feel that the money is owed. If the person does not wish to be contacted again by the creditor, he or she can send a letter stating so. While this will not stop the creditor from being able to attempt collection, it will restrict the methods he or she is allowed to use.

In Florida, as in other states, bankruptcy can stop a debt collector from contacting the person who owes. For anyone who has filed bankruptcy, all attempts to collect a debt or foreclose on a property must be stopped, according to the FDCPA. An experienced bankruptcy lawyer can advise his or her clients in the best way to handle a debt collector and offer advice on whether or not bankruptcy is the best option for the client, and which type he or she should file, if any.

Source:, "What debt collectors can and can't do", Kelvin Collins, June 3, 2017

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