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If you've been harassed by an overzealous debt collector, the odds are good that they have broken the law. The two federal laws that debt collectors most commonly violate are the TCPA and the FDCPA. There are also state-specific laws that protect your right not to be harassed. In Florida, that law is called the FCCPA.
The FDCPA/FCCPA generally prohibits the following debt collection behavior:
• Acting like a government official (such as the police) when they are not.
• Threatening to lie to others about the status of a disputed debt.
• Talking to your employer or boss (with few exceptions).
• Telling most other third-parties any information affecting your reputation (with few exceptions).
• Discussing a debt known to be disputed without also disclosing the disputed nature of that debt.
• Abusing, harassing, or "spamming" you or your family.
• Using profanity, obscenity, vulgarity, or willfully abusive language in communicating with you or your family.
• Claiming, attempting to claim, or threatening to enforce a debt that they know does not exist against you or that they know can no longer be acted upon (time-barred/statute of limitations debt, for example).
• Acting like they are an attorney when they are not an attorney, or crafting communications attempting to give the appearance of official legal or court documents when they are not.
• Using any documentation or stationery that would indicate an attorney was involved in its preparation when no attorney was actually involved.
• Using oral communications that purport to be coming from an attorney when no attorney is actually involved.
• Advertising or threatening to advertise the sale of your debt (with few exceptions).
• Publishing, posting, threatening to publish, threatening to post, causing to publish, or causing to post, anyone's name in connection with a debtor list (also called a "deadbeat list"), usually to shame a debtor into paying.
• Refusing to identify themselves or their employer when such is requested.
• Sending mail with anything on the envelope that would indicate such communication is an attempt to collect a debt, including the use of postcards or addressing communications to, for example, "Deadbeat John Doe."
• Calls before 8 A.M. or after 9 P.M. in your time zone, unless you consent to such calls.
• Communicating with you if they know you are represented by an attorney (with very few exceptions).
• Calling you collect or sending telegrams or other forms of communication whereby you can be charged for their receipt.
• And most other threats. If they ever say "if you don't pay this debt, I will do ____" odds are it's not allowed.
If a debt collector or debt buyer violates the FDCPA/FCCPA, or if the original creditor violates the FCCPA, you may be entitled to money damages.