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What is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act?

If you live in Florida and face overwhelming debt, your phone likely rings a lot. You may have stopped answering it when you fail to recognize the incoming number, fearing the call is from one more of your creditors calling to harass you about debt repayment. You may feel that you have no rights at all.

Actually, however, you do have some rights. As Credit.org reports, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act protects you in many ways from abusive third-party creditors. But what exactly is a third-party creditor? Usually it is a collection agency to which one of your actual creditors has turned over your delinquent account.

Third-party creditor prohibitions

Unfortunately, the FDCPA does not prohibit your third-party creditors from calling you at all. It does, however, forbid them from doing any of the following when they call you:

  • Calling you prior to 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
  • Calling you at work once you tell them not to
  • Calling your family, friends and neighbors
  • Threatening you with possible debt collection lawsuits
  • Threatening you with criminal prosecution or immigration actions
  • Talking to you abusively or profanely

Furthermore, any third-party creditor who calls you must identify himself or herself as a debt collector each and every time. (S)he also must inform you that you can dispute the debt in question. (S)he likewise cannot tell you anything that amounts to false, deceptive or misleading information.

While this information is not legal advice, it can help you understand your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and what to expect when your third-party creditors call you.

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