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Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

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The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA for short, is a federal law that applies in all states.  It provides certain rights to consumers by restricting the time, place and methods that debt collectors can use in trying to collect on debts.  As part of this, it is intended to prevent abusive debt collection tactics.

Some people think that the FDCPA applies to all debt collectors.  Although certain provisions apply generally, many of the protections under the FDCPA apply only to certain people and companies.  For example, it applies to consumer debt (where the debt arises primarily for personal, family or household purposes), rather than commercial debt.

It obviously covers debt collection agencies.  However, some people don’t realize that it also covers lawyers that regularly collect debts.  Many of the lawyers that we see in Central Florida (including Seminole County, Orange County, Brevard County, Volusia County and Lake County) do indeed “regularly collect debts”, and are therefore bound by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.  Some of those lawyers have filed thousands of debt collection lawsuits, and many derive most of their income from collecting debts.

The FDCPA specifically exempts certain categories of people and companies from many of its requirements.  Examples of those to whom the FDCPA does not typically apply are original creditors suing in their own name, corporate affiliates, government officers and process servers.  This does NOT mean there are no legal requirements for those people; it’s just that those legal requirements arise from laws other than the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.