Pursuant to Fla. Stat. § 559.55, which as enacted comprises the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act, a debt collector in Florida is defined as any person who uses any instrumentality of commerce within the state of Florida in any business whose principal purpose is the collection of debts, or who regularly collects or attempts to collect debts owed or alleged to be owed to another. The term “debt collector” includes any creditor who uses any name other than its own, thus indicating that a third person is collecting or attempting to collect debts. The collection of debts by a debt collector defined as such by Florida law may be initiated from within Florida or outside of the state of Florida.
The following are not debt collectors under Florida law:
- Any officer or employee of a creditor while, in the name of the creditor, collects debts for such creditor;
- Any person while acting as a debt collector for another person, both of whom are related by common ownership or affiliated by corporate control, if the person is acting as a debt collector for persons to whom it is so related or affiliated and if the principal business of such persons is not the collection of debts;
- Any officer or employee of any federal, state, or local governmental body to the extent that collecting or attempting to collect any debt is in the performance of her or his official duties;
- Any person while serving or attempting to serve legal process on any other person in connection with the judicial enforcement of any debt;
- Any not-for-profit organization which, at the request of consumers, performs bona fide consumer credit counseling and assists consumers in the liquidation of their debts by receiving payments from such consumers and distributing such amounts to creditors; or
- Any person collecting or attempting to collect any debt owed or due or asserted to be owed or due another to the extent that such activity is incidental to a bona fide fiduciary obligation or a bona fide escrow arrangement; concerns a debt which was originated by such person; concerns a debt which was not in default at the time it was obtained by such person; or concerns a debt obtained by such person as a secured party in a commercial credit transaction involving the creditor.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA") defines a creditor as the original lender or the person or entity that first extended credit to a borrower. The FDCPA is aimed at protecting debtors from third-party debt collectors and thus does not apply to an original lender or its employees or agents. However, when collecting its own debts, a creditor is not exempt from the FDCPA if it uses a different name implying that a third party is attempting to collect the debt.
The FDCPA defines a debt collector as any person who regularly collects debts owed to others. This definition includes collection agencies and other entities such as attorneys that collect debts for others. A debt collection agency may purchase a debt or attempt to collect it on behalf of another party. While personal, family and household debts are covered under the FDCPA, including credit cards, charge accounts, auto loans, and medical bills, debts incurred by a business are not covered by the FDCPA.The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act was enacted to protect consumers from unethical debt collection practices, such as other third parties receiving notice about the debt, excessive phone calls, or demands to pay more than the amount of the actual debt. The experienced South Florida defense attorneys at Loan Lawyers are here to review your potential claims against an unscrupulous debt collector and help you recover the damages you deserve. To schedule a free consultation at any of our three conveniently located offices, contact Loan Lawyers today by calling (888) FIGHT-13 (344-4813).