Florida Debtor
September 23, 2017, 07:55:47 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Florida Debtor - Now even better!
 
   Home   Help Search Login Register  
Pages: [1]
  Print  
Author Topic: FLORIDA CONSUMER AND COMMERCIAL COLLECTION PRACTICES ACT  (Read 6581 times)
Dragon
Newbie
*
Posts: 138


View Profile
« on: October 15, 2006, 07:56:58 AM »

PART VI
CONSUMER COLLECTION PRACTICES
559.55  Definitions.
559.551  Short title.
559.552  Relationship of state and federal law.
559.553  Registration of consumer collection agencies required; exemptions.
559.555  Registration of consumer collection agencies; procedure.
559.563  Void registration.
559.565  Enforcement action against out-of-state consumer debt collector.
559.715  Assignment of consumer debts.
559.72  Prohibited practices generally.
559.725  Consumer complaints; administrative duties.
559.730  Administrative remedies.
559.77  Civil remedies.
559.78  Judicial enforcement.
559.785  Criminal penalty.
559.55  Definitions.--The following terms shall, unless the context otherwise indicates, have the following meanings for the purpose of this part:
(1)  "Debt" or "consumer debt" means any obligation or alleged obligation of a consumer to pay money arising out of a transaction in which the money, property, insurance, or services which are the subject of the transaction are primarily for personal, family, or household purposes, whether or not such obligation has been reduced to judgment.
(2)  "Debtor" or "consumer" means any natural person obligated or allegedly obligated to pay any debt.
(3)  "Creditor" means any person who offers or extends credit creating a debt or to whom a debt is owed, but does not include any person to the extent that they receive an assignment or transfer of a debt in default solely for the purpose of facilitating collection of such debt for another.
(4)  "Office" means the Office of Financial Regulation of the Financial Services Commission.
(5)  "Communication" means the conveying of information regarding a debt directly or indirectly to any person through any medium.
(6)  "Debt collector" means any person who uses any instrumentality of commerce within this state, whether initiated from within or outside this state, in any business the principal purpose of which is the collection of debts, or who regularly collects or attempts to collect, directly or indirectly, debts owed or due or asserted to be owed or due another. The term "debt collector" includes any creditor who, in the process of collecting her or his own debts, uses any name other than her or his own which would indicate that a third person is collecting or attempting to collect such debts. The term does not include:
(a)  Any officer or employee of a creditor while, in the name of the creditor, collecting debts for such creditor;
(b)  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 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;
(c)  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;
(d)  Any person while serving or attempting to serve legal process on any other person in connection with the judicial enforcement of any debt;
(e)  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
(f)  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.
(7)  "Consumer collection agency" means any debt collector or business entity engaged in the business of soliciting consumer debts for collection or of collecting consumer debts, which debt collector or business is not expressly exempted as set forth in s. 559.553(4).
(Cool  "Out-of-state consumer debt collector" means any person whose business activities in this state involve both collecting or attempting to collect consumer debt from debtors located in this state by means of interstate communication originating from outside this state and soliciting consumer debt accounts for collection from creditors who have a business presence in this state. For purposes of this subsection, a creditor has a business presence in this state if either the creditor or an affiliate or subsidiary of the creditor has an office in this state.
(9)  "Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act" or "Federal Act" means the federal legislation regulating fair debt collection practices, as set forth in Pub. L. No. 95-109, as amended and published in 15 U.S.C. ss. 1692 et seq.
History.--s. 1, ch. 72-81; s. 3, ch. 76-168; s. 1, ch. 77-457; ss. 3, 6, ch. 81-314; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; ss. 1, 3, ch. 83-265; ss. 4, 13, ch. 93-275; s. 817, ch. 97-103; s. 677, ch. 2003-261.
559.551  Short title.--Sections 559.55-559.785 may be cited as the "Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act."
History.--ss. 5, 13, ch. 93-275.
559.552  Relationship of state and federal law.--Nothing in this part shall be construed to limit or restrict the continued applicability of the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to consumer collection practices in this state. This part is in addition to the requirements and regulations of the federal act. In the event of any inconsistency between any provision of this part and any provision of the federal act, the provision which is more protective of the consumer or debtor shall prevail.
History.--ss. 5, 13, ch. 93-275.
559.553  Registration of consumer collection agencies required; exemptions.--
(1)  After January 1, 1994, no person shall engage in business in this state as a consumer collection agency or continue to do business in this state as a consumer collection agency without first registering in accordance with this part, and thereafter maintaining a valid registration.
(2)  Each consumer collection agency doing business in this state shall register with the office and renew such registration annually as set forth in s. 559.555.
(3)  A prospective registrant shall be entitled to be registered when registration information is complete on its face and the applicable registration fee has been paid; however, the office may reject a registration submitted by a prospective registrant if the registrant or any principal of the registrant previously has held any professional license or state registration which was the subject of any suspension or revocation which has not been explained by the prospective registrant to the satisfaction of the office either in the registration information submitted initially or upon the subsequent written request of the office. In the event that an attempted registration is rejected by the office the prospective registrant shall be informed of the basis for rejection.
(4)  This section shall not apply to:
(a)  Any original creditor.
(b)  Any member of The Florida Bar.
(c)  Any financial institution authorized to do business in this state and any wholly owned subsidiary and affiliate thereof.
(d)  Any licensed real estate broker.
(e)  Any insurance company authorized to do business in this state.
(f)  Any consumer finance company and any wholly owned subsidiary and affiliate thereof.
(g)  Any person licensed pursuant to chapter 520.
(h)  Any out-of-state consumer debt collector who does not solicit consumer debt accounts for collection from credit grantors who have a business presence in this state.
(i)  Any FDIC-insured institution or subsidiary or affiliate thereof.
(5)  Any out-of-state consumer debt collector as defined in s. 559.55(Cool who is not exempt from registration by application of subsection (4) and who fails to register in accordance with this part shall be subject to an enforcement action by the state as specified in s. 559.565.
History.--ss. 5, 13, ch. 93-275; s. 678, ch. 2003-261.
559.555  Registration of consumer collection agencies; procedure.--Any person required to register as a consumer collection agency shall furnish to the office the registration fee and information as follows:
(1)  The registrant shall pay to the office a registration fee in the amount of $200. All amounts collected shall be deposited by the office to the credit of the Regulatory Trust Fund of the office.
(2)  Each registrant shall provide to the office the business name or trade name, the current mailing address, the current business location which constitutes its principal place of business, and the full name of each individual who is a principal of the registrant. "Principal of a registrant" means the registrant's owners if a partnership or sole proprietorship, corporate officers, corporate directors other than directors of a not-for-profit corporation organized pursuant to chapter 617 and Florida resident agent if a corporate registrant. The registration information shall include a statement clearly identifying and explaining any occasion on which any professional license or state registration held by the registrant, by any principal of the registrant, or by any business entity in which any principal of the registrant was the owner of 10 percent or more of such business, was the subject of any suspension or revocation.
(3)  Renewal of registration shall be made between October 1 and December 31 of each year. There shall be no proration of the fee for any registration.
History.--ss. 5, 13, ch. 93-275; s. 679, ch. 2003-261.
559.563  Void registration.--Any registration made under this part based upon false identification or false information, or identification not current with respect to name, address, and business location, or other fact which is material to such registration, shall be void. Any registration made and subsequently void under this section shall not be construed as creating any defense in any action by the office to impose any sanction for any violation of this part.
History.--ss. 5, 13, ch. 93-275; s. 680, ch. 2003-261.
559.565  Enforcement action against out-of-state consumer debt collector.--The remedies of this section are cumulative to other sanctions and enforcement provisions of this part for any violation by an out-of-state consumer debt collector, as defined in s. 559.55(Cool.
(1)  Any out-of-state consumer debt collector who collects or attempts to collect consumer debts in this state without first registering in accordance with this part shall be subject to an administrative fine not to exceed $1,000 together with reasonable attorney fees and court costs in any successful action by the state to collect such fines.
(2)  Any person, whether or not exempt from registration under this part, who violates the provisions of s. 559.72 shall be subject to sanctions for such violations the same as any other consumer debt collector, including imposition of an administrative fine. The registration of a duly registered out-of-state consumer debt collector shall be subject to revocation or suspension in the same manner as the registration of any other registrant under this part.
(3)  In order to effectuate the provisions of this section and enforce the requirements of this part as it relates to out-of-state consumer debt collectors, the Attorney General is expressly authorized to initiate such action on behalf of the state as he or she deems appropriate in any federal district court of competent jurisdiction.
History.--ss. 5, 13, ch. 93-275; s. 818, ch. 97-103.
559.715  Assignment of consumer debts.--This part does not prohibit the assignment, by a creditor, of the right to bill and collect a consumer debt. However, the assignee must give the debtor written notice of such assignment within 30 days after the assignment. The assignee is a real party in interest and may bring an action in a court of competent jurisdiction to collect a debt that has been assigned to such assignee and is in default.
History.--s. 1, ch. 89-69; ss. 6, 13, ch. 93-275.
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 prior to 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, but this shall 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 prior to such reasonable dispute having 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 shall 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;
(Cool  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 which simulates in any manner legal or judicial process or which 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 which only attorneys are authorized to prepare;
(12)  Orally communicate with a debtor in such a manner as to give 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 when 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;
(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 a reasonable period of time 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; or
(19)  Cause charges to be made to any debtor for communications by concealment of the true purpose of the communication, including collect telephone calls and telegram fees.
History.--s. 18, ch. 72-81; s. 3, ch. 76-168; s. 1, ch. 77-457; ss. 1, 6, ch. 81-314; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; ss. 1, 3, ch. 83-265; ss. 7, 13, ch. 93-275; s. 819, ch. 97-103; s. 1, ch. 2001-206.
559.725  Consumer complaints; administrative duties.--
(1)  The Division of Consumer Services of the Department of Financial Services shall serve as the registry for receiving and maintaining records of inquiries, correspondence, and complaints from consumers concerning any and all persons who collect debts, including consumer collection agencies.
(2)  The division shall classify complaints by type and identify the number of written complaints against persons collecting or attempting to collect debts in this state, including credit grantors collecting their own debts, debt collectors generally, and, specifically, consumer collection agencies as distinguished from other persons who collect debts such as commercial debt collection agencies regulated under part V of this chapter. The division shall identify the nature and number of various kinds of written complaints, including specifically those alleging violations of s. 559.72.
(3)  The division shall inform and furnish relevant information to the appropriate regulatory body of the state, or The Florida Bar in the case of attorneys, when any consumer debt collector exempt from registration under this part has been named in five or more written consumer complaints alleging violations of s. 559.72 within a 12-month period.
(4)  The division shall furnish a form to each complainant whose complaint concerns an alleged violation of s. 559.72 by a consumer collection agency. Such form may be filed with the office. The form shall identify the accused consumer collection agency and provide for the complainant's summary of the nature of the alleged violation and facts which allegedly support the complaint. The form shall include a provision for the complainant to state under oath before a notary public that the allegations therein made are true.
(5)  Upon receipt of such sworn complaint, the office shall promptly furnish a copy of the sworn complaint to the accused consumer collection agency.
(6)  The office shall investigate sworn complaints by direct written communication with the complainant and the affected consumer collection agency. In addition, the office shall attempt to resolve each sworn complaint and shall record the resolution of such complaints.
(7)  Periodically, the office shall identify consumer collection agencies that have unresolved sworn consumer complaints from five or more different consumers within a 12-month period under the provisions of this part.
(Cool  The office shall issue a written warning notice to the accused consumer collection agency if the office is unable to resolve all such sworn complaints and fewer than five unresolved complaints remain. Such notice shall include a statement that the warning may constitute evidence in any future investigation of similar complaints against that agency and in any future administrative determination of the imposition of other administrative remedies available to the office under this part.
(9)  The office may issue a written reprimand when five or more such unresolved sworn complaints against a consumer collection agency collectively fall short of constituting apparent repeated violations that warrant more serious administrative sanctions. Such reprimand shall include a statement that the reprimand may constitute evidence in any future investigation of similar complaints against that agency and in any future administrative determination of the imposition of other administrative remedies available to the office.
(10)  The office shall issue a notice of intent either to revoke or suspend the registration or to impose an administrative fine when the office preliminarily determines that repeated violations of s. 559.72 by an accused registrant have occurred which would warrant more serious administrative sanctions being imposed under this part. The office shall advise each registrant of the right to require an administrative hearing under chapter 120, prior to the agency's final action on the matter as authorized by s. 559.730.
(11)  The office shall advise the appropriate state attorney, or the Attorney General in the case of an out-of-state consumer debt collector, of any determination by the office of a violation of the requirements of this part by any consumer collection agency which is not registered as required by this part. The office shall furnish the state attorney or Attorney General with the office's information concerning the alleged violations of such requirements.
History.--ss. 8, 13, ch. 93-275; s. 681, ch. 2003-261.
559.730  Administrative remedies.--
(1)  The office may revoke or suspend the registration of any registrant under this part who has engaged in repeated violations which establish a clear pattern of abuse of prohibited collection practices under s. 559.72. Final office action to revoke or suspend the registration of any registrant shall be subject to review in accordance with chapter 120 in the same manner as revocation of a license. The repeated violations of the law by one employee shall not be grounds for revocation or suspension of the registration of the employing consumer collection agency, unless the employee is also the owner of a majority interest in the collection agency.
(2)  The registration of a registrant shall not be revoked or suspended if the registrant shows by a preponderance of the evidence that the violations were not intentional and resulted from bona fide error notwithstanding the maintenance of procedures reasonably adapted to avoid any such error.
(3)  The office shall consider the number of complaints against the registrant in relation to the accused registrant's volume of business when determining whether suspension or revocation is the more appropriate sanction when circumstances warrant that one or the other should be imposed upon a registrant.
(4)  The office shall impose suspension rather than revocation when circumstances warrant that one or the other should be imposed upon a registrant and the accused registrant demonstrates that the registrant has taken affirmative steps which can be expected to effectively eliminate the repeated violations and that the registrant's registration has never previously been suspended.
(5)  The office may impose an administrative fine up to $1,000 against the offending registrant as a sanction for repeated violations of the provisions of s. 559.72 when violations do not rise to the level of misconduct governed by subsection (1). Final office action to impose an administrative fine shall be subject to review in accordance with ss. 120.569 and 120.57.
(6)  Any administrative fine imposed under this part shall be payable to the office. The office shall maintain an appropriate record and shall deposit such fine into the Regulatory Trust Fund of the office.
(7)  An administrative action by the office to impose revocation, suspension, or fine shall be brought within 2 years after the date of the last violation upon which the action is founded.
(Cool  Nothing in this part shall be construed to preclude any person from pursuing remedies available under the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act for any violation of such act, including specifically against any person who is exempt from the registration provisions of this part.
History.--ss. 9, 13, ch. 93-275; s. 250, ch. 96-410; s. 682, ch. 2003-261.
559.77  Civil remedies.--
(1)  A debtor may bring a civil action against a person violating the provisions of s. 559.72 in a court of competent jurisdiction of the county in which the alleged violator resides or has his or her principal place of business or in the county wherein the alleged violation occurred.
(2)  Upon adverse adjudication, the defendant shall be liable for actual damages and for additional statutory damages of up to $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 such noncompliance, and the extent to which such noncompliance was intentional. In any 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 not to exceed the lesser of $500,000 or 1 percent of the defendant's net worth for all remaining class members, but in no event may this aggregate award provide an individual class member with additional statutory damages in excess of $1,000. The court may, in its discretion, 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 shall be liable for court costs and reasonable attorney's fees incurred by the defendant.
(3)  A person shall 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 any such error.
(4)  An action brought under this section must be commenced within 2 years after the date on which 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.
History.--s. 23, ch. 72-81; s. 3, ch. 76-168; s. 1, ch. 77-457; s. 9, ch. 78-95; ss. 3, 6, ch. 81-314; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; ss. 1, 3, ch. 83-265; ss. 10, 13, ch. 93-275; s. 820, ch. 97-103; s. 2, ch. 2001-206.
559.78  Judicial enforcement.--In addition to other penalties provided in this part, state attorneys and their assistants are authorized to apply to the court of competent jurisdiction within their respective jurisdictions, upon the sworn affidavit of any person alleging a violation of any of the provisions of this part. Such court shall have jurisdiction, upon hearing and for cause shown, to grant a temporary or permanent injunction restraining any person from violating any provision of this part, whether or not there exists an adequate remedy at law; and such injunction, suspension, or revocation shall issue without bond.
History.--s. 24, ch. 72-81; s. 26, ch. 73-334; s. 3, ch. 76-168; s. 1, ch. 77-457; ss. 2, 6, ch. 81-314; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; ss. 1, 3, ch. 83-265; ss. 11, 13, ch. 93-275.
559.785  Criminal penalty.--It shall be a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083, for any person not exempt from registering as provided in this part to engage in collecting consumer debts in this state without first registering with the office, or to register or attempt to register by means of fraud, misrepresentation, or concealment.
History.--ss. 12, 13, ch. 93-275; s. 683, ch. 2003-261.
PART V
COMMERCIAL COLLECTION PRACTICES
559.541  Short title.
559.542  Legislative intent.
559.543  Definitions.
559.544  Registration required; exemptions.
559.545  Registration of commercial collection agencies; procedure.
559.546  Bond; evidence of current and valid bond.
559.547  Void registration.
559.548  Penalties.
559.541  Short title.--Sections 559.541-559.548 may be cited as the "Florida Commercial Collection Practices Act."
History.--ss. 1, 2, ch. 93-275.
559.542  Legislative intent.--The Legislature finds that commercial collection practices in this state are not governed by the federal and state laws relating to the collection of consumer claims and that current criminal laws are inadequate to deal with certain unlawful and fraudulent activities specifically involving the collection of commercial claims in this state. Under such circumstances, there have been in the past, and will be in the future unless the Legislature acts, persons who succeed in flaunting the criminal laws of this state while engaging in the business of collecting commercial claims. Therefore, the Legislature intends by this part to specifically regulate commercial collection activities, separate and apart from consumer collection activities, to prevent unlawful and fraudulent commercial collection activities that otherwise may go unpenalized. The Legislature seeks to do so by requiring the registration of persons and businesses engaged in soliciting the collection of commercial claims or in collecting commercial claims, by prohibiting collection activities in this state by unregistered persons, and by providing effective mechanisms for enforcement of this part.
History.--ss. 1, 2, ch. 93-275.
559.543  Definitions.--As used in this part:
(1)  "Claim" or "commercial claim" means any obligation for the payment of money or its equivalent arising out of a transaction wherein credit has been offered or extended to any person, and the money, property, or service which was the subject of the transaction was primarily for commercial purposes and not primarily for personal, family, or household purposes, whether or not such obligation has been reduced to judgment. The term "claim" or "commercial claim" includes an obligation of a person who is comaker, endorser, guarantor, or surety as well as the person to whom such credit was originally extended.
(2)  "Commercial collection agency" means any person engaged, as a primary or secondary business activity, in the business of soliciting commercial claims for collection or in the business of collecting commercial claims, asserted to be owed or due to another person, regardless of whether the collection efforts are directed at the primary debtor or some other source of payment.
(3)  "Credit grantor" means any person or entity to whom a commercial claim is owed, due, or alleged to be owed or due, whether or not such person or entity is domiciled or doing business within this state and whether or not such commercial claim arose within this state. However, such term does not apply to any registrant under this part who has received an assignment or transfer of a commercial claim in default solely for the purpose of facilitating collection of such commercial claim for another.
(4)  "Out-of-state collector" means any person or business entity engaged in the business of soliciting commercial claims for collection or of collecting commercial claims whose business activities in this state are limited to collecting commercial claims by means of interstate communications, including telephone, mail, or facsimile transmission, originating from outside this state.
(5)  "Commission" means the Financial Services Commission.
(6)  "Office" means the Office of Financial Regulation of the commission.
History.--ss. 1, 2, ch. 93-275; s. 672, ch. 2003-261.
559.544  Registration required; exemptions.--
(1)  No person shall engage in business in this state as a commercial collection agency, as defined in this part, or continue to do business in this state as a commercial collection agency, without first registering in accordance with this part and thereafter maintaining such registration.
(2)  Each commercial collection agency doing business in this state shall register with the office and annually renew such registration, providing the registration fee, information, and surety bond required by this part.
(3)  No registration shall be valid for any commercial collection agency transacting business at any place other than that designated in the registration unless the office is first notified in advance of any change of location. A registration under this part is not transferable or assignable. Any commercial collection agency desiring to change its registered name, location, or agent for service of process at any time other than renewal of registration shall notify the office of such change prior to the change.
(4)  The office shall not accept any registration for any commercial collection agency as validly made and filed with the office under this section unless the registration information furnished to the office by the registrant is complete pursuant to s. 559.545 and facially demonstrates that such registrant is qualified to engage in business as a commercial collection agency, including specifically that neither the registrant nor any principal of the registrant has engaged in any unlawful collection practices, dishonest dealings, acts of moral turpitude, or other criminal acts that reflect an inability to engage in the commercial collection agency business. The office shall inform any person whose registration is rejected by the office of the fact of and basis for such rejection. A prospective registrant shall be entitled to be registered when her or his or its registration information is complete on its face, the applicable registration fee has been paid, and the required evidence of current bond is furnished to the office.
(5)  This section shall not apply to:
(a)  A member of The Florida Bar, unless such person is primarily engaged in the collection of commercial claims. "Primarily engaged in the collection of commercial claims" means that more than one-half of the income of such person arises from the business of soliciting commercial claims for collection or collecting commercial claims.
(b)  A financial institution authorized to do business in this state and any wholly owned subsidiary and affiliate thereof.
(c)  A licensed real estate broker.
(d)  A title insurance company authorized to do business in this state.
(e)  A collection agency which is not primarily engaged in the collection of commercial claims. "Not primarily engaged in the collection of commercial claims" means that less than one-half of the collection revenue of such agency arises from the collection of commercial claims.
(f)  A consumer finance company and any wholly owned subsidiary and affiliate thereof.
(g)  A person licensed pursuant to chapter 520.
(h)  A credit grantor.
(i)  An out-of-state collector as defined in this part.
(j)  An FDIC-insured institution or subsidiary or affiliate thereof.
History.--ss. 1, 2, ch. 93-275; s. 815, ch. 97-103; s. 673, ch. 2003-261.
559.545  Registration of commercial collection agencies; procedure.--Any person who wishes to register as a commercial collection agency in compliance with this part shall do so on forms adopted by the commission and furnished by the office. Any renewal of registration shall be made between October 1 and December 31 of each year. In registering or renewing a registration as required by this part, each commercial collection agency shall furnish to the office a registration fee, information, and surety bond, as follows:
(1)  The registrant shall pay to the office a registration fee of $500. All amounts collected shall be deposited to the credit of the Regulatory Trust Fund of the office.
(2)  The registrant shall provide the following information:
(a)  The business name or trade name of the commercial collection agency, the current mailing address of the agency, and the current business location of each place from which the agency operates either a main or branch office, with a designation of which location constitutes its principal place of business.
(b)  The full names, current addresses, current telephone numbers, and social security numbers, or federal identification numbers of any corporate owner, of the registrant's owners or corporate officers and directors, and of the Florida resident agent of the registering agency.
(c)  A statement as to whether the registrant is a domestic or foreign corporation, together with the state and date of incorporation, charter number of the corporation, and, if a foreign corporation, the date the corporation first registered to do business in this state.
(d)  A statement listing each county in this state in which the registrant is currently doing business or plans to do business within the next calendar year, indicating each county in which the registrant holds an occupational license.
(e)  A statement listing each county in this state in which the registrant is operating under a fictitious name or trade name other than that of the registrant, indicating the date and place of registration of any such fictitious name or trade name.
(f)  A statement listing the names of any other corporations, entities, or trade names through which any owner or director of the registrant was known or did business as a commercial or consumer collection agency within the 5 calendar years immediately preceding the year in which the agency is registering.
(g)  A statement clearly identifying and explaining any occasion on which any professional license or occupational license held by the registrant, any principal of the registrant, or any business entity in which any principal of the registrant was the owner of 10 percent or more of such business was the subject of any suspension, revocation, or other disciplinary action.
(h)  A statement clearly identifying and explaining any occasion of a finding of guilt of any crime involving moral turpitude or dishonest conduct on the part of any principal of the registrant.
(3)  The registrant shall furnish to the office evidence, as provided in s. 559.546, of the registrant having a current surety bond in the amount of $50,000, valid for the year of registration, paid for and issued for the use and benefit of any credit grantor who suffers or sustains any loss or damage by reason of any violation of the provisions of this part by the registrant, or by any agent or employee of the registrant acting within the scope of her or his employment, and issued to ensure conformance with the provisions of this part.
History.--ss. 1, 2, ch. 93-275; s. 816, ch. 97-103; s. 674, ch. 2003-261.
559.546  Bond; evidence of current and valid bond.--Pursuant to s. 559.545, the registrant shall provide to the office evidence that the registrant has been issued a current and valid surety bond as required by this part.
(1)  In addition to each registration filed pursuant to s. 559.545 and any renewal of such registration, each registrant shall furnish to the office the following:
(a)  A copy of the surety bond, which bond shall be one issued by a surety known by the registrant to be acceptable to the office.
(b)  A statement from the surety that the annual premium for the bond has been paid in full by the registrant.
(c)  A statement from the surety that the bond issued by the surety meets the requirements of this part.
(2)  The liability of the surety under any bond issued pursuant to the requirements of this part shall not exceed in the aggregate the amount of the bond, regardless of the number or amount of any claims filed or which might be asserted against the surety on such bond. If multiple claims are filed against the surety on any such bond in excess of the amount of the bond, the surety may pay the full amount of the bond to the office and shall not be further liable under the bond. The office shall hold such funds for distribution to claimants and administratively determine and pay to each claimant the pro rata share of each valid claim made against the funds within 6 months after the date of the filing of the first claim against the surety.
History.--ss. 1, 2, ch. 93-275; s. 675, ch. 2003-261.
559.547  Void registration.--
(1)  Any registration made under this part by any person or commercial collection agency based upon the presentation by such person or collection agency of false identification or information, or identification not current with respect to name, address, and business location, or any other fact material to such registration shall be void.
(2)  Any registration made under this part, but which is void under subsection (1), shall not be construed as creating any defense to any prosecution for violation of any provision of this part.
History.--ss. 1, 2, ch. 93-275.
559.548  Penalties.--
(1)  Each of the following acts constitutes a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084:
(a)  Operating or soliciting business as a commercial collection agency in this state without first registering with the office, unless specifically exempted by this part.
(b)  Registering or attempting to register by means of fraud, misrepresentation, or concealment.
(2)  Each of the following acts constitutes a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083:
(a)  Relocating a business as a commercial collection agency, or operating under any name other than that designated in the registration, unless written notification is given to the office and to the surety or sureties on the original bond.
(b)  Assigning or attempting to assign a registration under this part.
(3)  The court may, in addition to other punishment provided for, invalidate the registration of any registrant under this part who has been found guilty of conduct prohibited in subsection (1) or subsection (2).
History.--ss. 1, 2, ch. 93-275; s. 676, ch. 2003-261.
Logged
petebull
Newbie
*
Posts: 34


View Profile
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2010, 06:20:26 PM »

the FCCPA has been revised in 2010 via bill S2086.  The changes appear to be effective Oct 1 2010

Here's a change I don't like much:
Quote
559.715?Assignment of consumer debts.—This part does not
   prohibit the assignment, by a creditor, of the right to bill and
   collect a consumer debt. However, the assignee must give the
   debtor written notice of such assignment as soon as practical
   after the assignment is made, but at least within 30 days before
   any action to collect the debt after the assignment
. The
   assignee is a real party in interest and may bring an action in
   a court of competent jurisdiction to collect a debt that has
   been assigned to the such assignee and is in default.
was changed from
Quote
However, the assignee must give the debtor written notice of such assignment within 30 days after the assignment.

damned politicians
Logged

I am not a lawyer, and I don't play one on TV. 
The views and opinions expressed by the poster are not necessarily those of the host, staff, management, or advertisers of this site.
This post made possible through a grant from the 'screw-em-all' corp
Pages: [1]
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!