MAX STORY LAW
FLORIDA CONSUMER COLLECTION PRACTICES ACT
559.72 Prohibited practices generally.—In collecting consumer debts, no person shall:
(1) Simulate in any manner a law enforcement officer or a representative of any governmental agency.
(2) Use or threaten force or violence.
(3) Tell a debtor who disputes a consumer debt that she or he or any person employing her or him will disclose to another, orally or in writing, directly or indirectly, information affecting the debtor’s reputation for credit worthiness without also informing the debtor that the existence of the dispute will also be disclosed as required by subsection (6).
(4) Communicate or threaten to communicate with a debtor’s employer before obtaining final judgment against the debtor, unless the debtor gives her or his permission in writing to contact her or his employer or acknowledges in writing the existence of the debt after the debt has been placed for collection. However, this does not prohibit a person from telling the debtor that her or his employer will be contacted if a final judgment is obtained.
(5) Disclose to a person other than the debtor or her or his family information affecting the debtor’s reputation, whether or not for credit worthiness, with knowledge or reason to know that the other person does not have a legitimate business need for the information or that the information is false.
(6) Disclose information concerning the existence of a debt known to be reasonably disputed by the debtor without disclosing that fact. If a disclosure is made before such dispute has been asserted and written notice is received from the debtor that any part of the debt is disputed, and if such dispute is reasonable, the person who made the original disclosure must reveal upon the request of the debtor within 30 days the details of the dispute to each person to whom disclosure of the debt without notice of the dispute was made within the preceding 90 days.
(7) Willfully communicate with the debtor or any member of her or his family with such frequency as can reasonably be expected to harass the debtor or her or his family, or willfully engage in other conduct which can reasonably be expected to abuse or harass the debtor or any member of her or his family.
(8) Use profane, obscene, vulgar, or willfully abusive language in communicating with the debtor or any member of her or his family.
(9) Claim, attempt, or threaten to enforce a debt when such person knows that the debt is not legitimate, or assert the existence of some other legal right when such person knows that the right does not exist.
(10) Use a communication that simulates in any manner legal or judicial process or that gives the appearance of being authorized, issued, or approved by a government, governmental agency, or attorney at law, when it is not.
(11) Communicate with a debtor under the guise of an attorney by using the stationery of an attorney or forms or instruments that only attorneys are authorized to prepare.
(12) Orally communicate with a debtor in a manner that gives the false impression or appearance that such person is or is associated with an attorney.
(13) Advertise or threaten to advertise for sale any debt as a means to enforce payment except under court order or when acting as an assignee for the benefit of a creditor.
(14) Publish or post, threaten to publish or post, or cause to be published or posted before the general public individual names or any list of names of debtors, commonly known as a deadbeat list, for the purpose of enforcing or attempting to enforce collection of consumer debts.
(15) Refuse to provide adequate identification of herself or himself or her or his employer or other entity whom she or he represents if requested to do so by a debtor from whom she or he is collecting or attempting to collect a consumer debt.
(16) Mail any communication to a debtor in an envelope or postcard with words typed, written, or printed on the outside of the envelope or postcard calculated to embarrass the debtor. An example of this would be an envelope addressed to “Deadbeat, Jane Doe” or “Deadbeat, John Doe.”
(17) Communicate with the debtor between the hours of 9 p.m. and 8 a.m. in the debtor’s time zone without the prior consent of the debtor.
(a) The person may presume that the time a telephone call is received conforms to the local time zone assigned to the area code of the number called, unless the person reasonably believes that the debtor’s telephone is located in a different time zone.
(b) If, such as with toll-free numbers, an area code is not assigned to a specific geographic area, the person may presume that the time a telephone call is received conforms to the local time zone of the debtor’s last known place of residence, unless the person reasonably believes that the debtor’s telephone is located in a different time zone.
(18) Communicate with a debtor if the person knows that the debtor is represented by an attorney with respect to such debt and has knowledge of, or can readily ascertain, such attorney’s name and address, unless the debtor’s attorney fails to respond within 30 days to a communication from the person, unless the debtor’s attorney consents to a direct communication with the debtor, or unless the debtor initiates the communication.
(19) Cause a debtor to be charged for communications by concealing the true purpose of the communication, including collect telephone calls and telegram fees.
559.77 Civil remedies.—
(1) A debtor may bring a civil action against a person violating the provisions of s. 559.72 in the county in which the alleged violator resides or has his or her principal place of business or in the county where the alleged violation occurred.
(2) Any person who fails to comply with any provision of s. 559.72 is liable for actual damages and for additional statutory damages as the court may allow, but not exceeding $1,000, together with court costs and reasonable attorney’s fees incurred by the plaintiff. In determining the defendant’s liability for any additional statutory damages, the court shall consider the nature of the defendant’s noncompliance with s. 559.72 , the frequency and persistence of the noncompliance, and the extent to which the noncompliance was intentional. In a class action lawsuit brought under this section, the court may award additional statutory damages of up to $1,000 for each named plaintiff and an aggregate award of additional statutory damages up to the lesser of $500,000 or 1 percent of the defendant’s net worth for all remaining class members; however, the aggregate award may not provide an individual class member with additional statutory damages in excess of $1,000. The court may award punitive damages and may provide such equitable relief as it deems necessary or proper, including enjoining the defendant from further violations of this part. If the court finds that the suit fails to raise a justiciable issue of law or fact, the plaintiff is liable for court costs and reasonable attorney’s fees incurred by the defendant.
(3) A person may not be held liable in any action brought under this section if the person shows by a preponderance of the evidence that the violation was not intentional and resulted from a bona fide error, notwithstanding the maintenance of procedures reasonably adapted to avoid such error.
(4) An action brought under this section must be commenced within 2 years after the date the alleged violation occurred.
(5) In applying and construing this section, due consideration and great weight shall be given to the interpretations of the Federal Trade Commission and the federal courts relating to the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.