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Consumer Alert:

04/09/2014

Consumer Alert: Prohibited Debt Collection Practices

 

 

For Immediate Release                                 
Wednesday, April 09, 2014
 
Contact: Jamie Mongiovi
(850) 410-9709
Consumer Alert: Prohibited Debt Collection Practices
The Florida Office of Financial Regulation highlights illegal debt collection practices
 
Tallahassee, Fla. – The Florida Office of Financial Regulation (OFR) encourages consumers to become knowledgeable about prohibited tactics that should not be used by debt collection agencies. Even if you are debt-free, you may still be susceptible to these practices. According to an analysis by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has received 11,000 debt collection complaints since July 2013. Of those, 25 percent complained that the collection agency contacted them for a debt they did not owe. The following practices are prohibited under Florida’s Consumer Collection Practices Act:
 
• Impersonating a law enforcement officer or a representative of a government agency.
• Use or threat of violence.
• Reporting or threatening to report negative information to a credit reporting agency about the debt without acknowledging the dispute, if the consumer has disputed the debt. 
• Informing or threatening to inform a consumer’s employer about the debt.
• Acknowledging a consumer’s debt to a third party.
• Communicating with the consumer with the intent to harass.
• Using abusive language when communicating with the consumer.
• Attempting to enforce a debt that is not a legitimate debt.
• Using communication that looks like it has been approved by an attorney or governmental entity when it has not been approved.
• Pretending to be an attorney.
• Contacting consumers by telephone outside the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. local time.
• Publishing a consumer’s name or address on a “bad debt” list.
• Refusing to provide adequate identification if requested by the consumer.
• Using embarrassing communication through the mail to contact the consumer.
• Contacting a consumer who is known to be represented by an attorney.
• Causing a consumer to be charged collect telephone call fees or telegram fees by concealing the purpose of the communication.
 
If you encounter any of these prohibited practices, please file a complaint with the OFR online, www.flofr.com, or call (850) 487-9687.
 
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The Florida Office of Financial Regulation provides regulatory oversight for Florida’s financial services providers. Our mission is to protect Floridians, promote a safe and sound financial marketplace, and contribute to the growth of Florida’s economy with smart, efficient and effective regulation of the financial services industry.