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Florida Debt Collection Laws Require Valid Registration by Debt Collection Companies

Adam J Krohn / Posted: 2011-02-07 12:00 am
Under the Florida Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FFDCPA) Section 559.553, consumer debt collection agencies must be registered.

Florida debt collection laws require debt collection agencies to be duly registered to engage in debt collection business in the state. These companies are required to maintain a proper valid registration to do business in Florida. Under this statute, since 1994 each consumer collection agency in the debt collection business in Florida must renew registration annually (FFDCPA 559.555)

Registration by debt collection agencies should be complete in all respects, and applicable registration fee should be paid. The registrar's office may reject an application by a prospective registrant if the registrant or any principal of the registrant held a professional license or state registration and that was revoked or suspended and was not explained by the registrant. Not explaining the revocation or suspension to the satisfaction of the registration office or after a notice from the office triggers a rejection of the application. The debt collection company is then informed that it is unregistered and may not conduct debt collection activities.

This registration process is not applicable to any original creditor trying to collect debt, or an attorney who is a member of the Florida Bar. This process is also not applicable to financial institutions authorized to do business in the state or their subsidiaries, real estate brokers, insurance companies authorized to do business in the state, or any consumer finance company or wholly-owned subsidiary thereof. This registration process also exempts out-of-state consumer debt accounts for collection from creditors with business presence in Florida.

Those debt collection companies not exempt from registration, however, are subject to enforcement by the state as specified in section 559.565. This includes the majority of collectors operating in the state.

To register, a consumer collection agency must furnish the following:
  • A registration fee of $200
  • The business name, trade name, current mailing address, current business location and full name of the principal of the registrant
  • A statement clearly detailing facts about any other registration held by the registrant, any principal of the registrant, or by any business entity in which any principal of the registrant was or is the owner
  • Any former registration in which the registrant or any principal of the registrant owned ten or more percent
  • Whether any registration held by the registrant was the subject of any suspension or revocation

Renewal of old registrations is done between October 1 and December 31 of each year. If you have been contacted by a Florida debt collection agency, ask for its registration information. If it is unable to provide this information, refuse any further contact, report the agency to the registrar’s office, and talk to an experienced debt collection attorney about your legal options.
Tags : Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Fdcpa, Ffdcpa

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