The average person living in Florida has $38,000 in debt, and for some, repaying a debt balance in a timely manner is difficult or impossible to do. At some point, debtors who are behind on a student loan or credit card balance may receive phone calls from their creditors or from debt collection agencies. Debtors should know that the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) provides them with a variety of rights that creditors and debt collectors must respect.

For example, an individual has the right to confirm the debt balance in question. A debt collector is required to send details about a debt such as the amount owed and the name of the original creditor. Debt collectors must send this information in writing before it can continue efforts to obtain the money it thinks it is owed.

Debt collectors are not allowed to threaten, harass or otherwise abuse a debtor, and this is true whether contact takes place by phone or by mail. It is also illegal for a debt collector to lie about the amount that a person owes or lie about whether a statute of limitations has run out. Finally, debtors can ask to put a stop to letters, phone calls or other attempts by debt collectors to contact them. Debt collectors are required to comply with such requests.

In almost all cases, credit card debt balances can be discharged as part of a bankruptcy proceeding. This is generally true whether a person decides to opt for a liquidation or reorganization bankruptcy. Debtors may also receive an automatic stay from creditor contact after filing their cases, which means that creditors typically can’t follow through with a lawsuit or repossession. An attorney who specializes in bankruptcy law – credit card debt may talk more about other potential benefits of filing for bankruptcy protection.