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CFO Sink Calls for Better Protections against Abusive Debt Collectors, Brings Together Offices Involved

11/3/2009

CONTACT: Kyra Jennings or Kevin Cate, (850) 413-2842

TALLAHASSSEE -- Florida CFO Alex Sink today called for changes that would create better protections for Floridians against abusive debt collectors and make it easier for citizens to report unlawful behavior.  
 
These proposals follow a meeting called by CFO Sink held Thursday, October 29, between Office of Financial Regulation (OFR) Commissioner Tom Cardwell and the Chiefs of Staff from the CFO’s and Attorney General’s offices.  CFO Sink will advocate for legislative changes and instituting other reforms to better protect consumers.  
 
“There are clear, commonsense changes that are needed to better protect Florida’s consumers against these abusive debt collector practices,” said CFO Sink.  “I will continue to work in a collaborative way in order to put real teeth in the law and crack down on abusive debt collectors.” 
 
CFO Sink is calling for the following reforms that will make it easier for Floridians to report these unlawful practices and allow the state to more aggressively penalize these unscrupulous debt collectors, including:
 
 Reducing the number of complaints needed to refer an abusive collector to the State Attorney or Attorney General, and eliminating a time period required, as opposed to the current requirement of five complaints in one year.
Implementing stronger penalties against abusive or non-responsive debt collectors, such as imposing higher fines and cease and desist orders.
Changing the complaint form to make it easier for a consumer to file a complaint.
Updating the way resolved complaints are tracked by OFR to better understand repeat offenders and trends.
 
“These suggested reforms are the first of several steps I think we can take to better protect Florida’s consumers and ensure that those who find themselves in financial trouble are treated ethically,” CFO Sink continued.  
 
Consumers who have been victims of these abusive debt collector practices should contact the Florida Office of Financial Regulation at1-800-848-3792 or visit http://www.flofr.com/Director/complaints.htm.
 
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As a statewide elected officer of the Florida Cabinet, CFO Alex Sink oversees the Department of Financial Services.  A successful businesswoman with nearly three decades of experience in the private sector, Sink is serving her first term as Florida's CFO.  As CFO, Sink's priorities include using her business experience to cut wasteful government spending, cracking down on financial and insurance fraud and reforming the state government's contracting practices.