Office of Financial Regulation: Debt collectors at it again

Late night calls, intimidation violate your rights

If you have been receiving one of those infamous debt collector phone calls, chances are that caller is breaking the law and violating your rights.

In fact, an estimated 11,000 consumer complaints have been filed with the Consumer Protection Agency since January 2013 from people getting harassed by debt collectors.

Gregory Hila, Deputy Commissioner of the Florida Office of Financial Regulation, says many times it's all about intimidation.

"They go to your employer, they go to your family and you're embarrassed so that you pay this debt, that's illegal," Hila said.

Under Chapter 559.72 there are 14 standards Hila says are constantly violated by debt collection services.

Debt collectors can't pretend to be law enforcement officers, an attorney or a state official ,

One of the most common intimidation games is the early or late night calls.

Hila says the law is very clear stating "they can only call between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m."

Hila says many times those calls are designed to intimidate you to pay a debt you never owed.

According to an analysis by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has received 11,000 debt collection complaints since July 2013. Of those, 25 percent complained that the collection agency contacted them for a debt they did not owe."

Hila says many times parents will pay an adult child's debt or the child will do the same for a parent to avoid embarrassment. They never consider the debt might not be legitimate.

Consumers can file a complaint by going to the OFR website,, and clicking on the File a Complaint tabĀ  or by calling (850) 487-9687.

Editor's Note: An earlier version misspelled Commissioner Hila's name. This story has been corrected.

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