Often, when contacted by debt collectors you are frazzled by the call or letter. This is typically the outcome the collector hopes to have. The first and most important thing to remember is stay calm and do not engage in a verbal confrontation. Gather as much information as possible including: name of the company, address, call back number, the collector's name, and the original owner of the debt.
If anything out of the ordinary occurs, such as harassment or threats, take extensive notes of the encounter and stay calm. Yelling, threatening, or hanging up on the collector will not benefit you, it will only show the collector that they are getting to you.
Visit the Florida Office of Financial Regulation Online
The Florida Office of Financial Regulation is in charge of keeping and maintaining records of licenses for debt collectors for the state of Florida.
First, navigate your web browser to http://flofr.com/ and click the "Verify a License" tab at the top right of the page.
Search for Collection Agencies
Next, click on the "Collection Agencies" hyperlink under the "Finance Regulated Industries" section on the top left of the page.
Input Gathered Information
Enter the business name that you gathered during the contact from the collection agency under the "Business Name" field and click on "search."
Analyze the Results
Once the search results come up, look at the final box on the row that corresponds to the collection agency that contacted you. If the status under that heading is expired, it is likely that the company is no longer registered to collect.
If the company name does not come up, it is likely that they are not registered to collect, try other variations of spelling the name just to be sure.
Non-Licensed Debt Collector
If the debt collector is not licensed in the state of Florida, they are violating the FCCPA and in turn violating the FDCPA. Each violation carries a $1,000.00 statutory damages provision for each violation, which in this instance is each call or contact by a non-licensed debt collector. It is recommended at this point to contact an attorney who regularly handles these types of claims against debt collectors.
Most will take your case on a contingency basis, meaning you do not pay money out of pocket unless money is recovered for you.
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