The Florida Bar

Debt Collection

December 9, 2022

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a federal law that provides debtors with protection from abusive debt collection practices. The FDCPA considers any person who regularly collects debts owed to others as debt collectors. This definition includes attorneys who regularly collect debts, but it does not include creditors that collect their own debts. The types of debts covered by the FDCPA are any family, household, and personal debts, which includes medical care.

People who are subject to the FDCPA are prohibited from behaving in certain ways during the process of collecting a debt. A collection agency is not permitted to harass or abuse debtors, which includes a prohibition against publishing the name of a debtor on a blacklist or other posting that is public. Debt collection agents are also not allowed to provide false or misleading information in order to collect a debt, nor can they engage in shocking or unfair methods to collect. A debt collection agent is not permitted to contact a debtor before 8:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m., and is not permitted to directly contact a debtor who is represented by an attorney.

Debt collection efforts must comply with the bankruptcy orders. Usually, bankruptcy courts will issue an automatic stay stopping all debt collection while the case is under review. If you are dealing with debt collection issues, read the debtor’s bankruptcy papers containing the creditors that are owed money and creditors that are secured and unsecured. If you decide to proceed, you should also file a proof of claim, which states your desire to be a part of the bankruptcy proceeding. Finally, be sure to comply with the decision of the bankruptcy court.

Changes may occur in this area of law. The information provided is brought to you as a public service, and is intended to help you better understand the law in general. It is not intended to be legal advice regarding your particular problem or substitute for the advice of a lawyer.