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Harassment from debt collectors can be a huge problem for Florida residents with debt such as unpaid medical bills or student loans. Unless borrowers assert their rights, debt collection agencies often use abusive tactics like calling multiple times a day. Even people with no outstanding debt have experienced creditor harassment. Without verifying that the debt is past due, many collection agencies will continue to press forward with collection attempts.

If they don’t take action, victims of creditor harassment can experience a variety of financial challenges. These challenges can include things like foreclosure on a house, repossession of personal property and damage to a credit report. Intimidated by the tactics used against them, many borrowers don’t realize they have the right to file a complaint. Sending a letter to the Federal Trade Commission or the Florida attorney general’s office can often stop debt collectors in their tracks.

Because most people feel a moral obligation to repay their debt, they fail to properly investigate solutions. The truth is, almost all unpaid debt in Florida has a five-year statute of limitations. Once the statute of limitations has expired, a collection agency cannot take a borrower to court. Just like collection agencies have a time frame, so do borrowers. When being harassed, a complaint must be filed within 30 days of receiving a collection notice.

Without an attorney, borrowers can easily make the mistake of entering into debt-settlement programs. These for-profit companies often trick people into scams that leave them saddled with even more debt. Borrowers should avoid making this kind of mistake by seeking the advice and guidance of an experienced bankruptcy lawyer. A lawyer can help to stop foreclosure and repossession and work on finding the best solution for eradicating the outstanding debt.

Source: Denver Post, “Know your rights in dealing with debt collectors“, Alex Veiga, July 29, 2013