Debt collectors have a limited time frame to sue you for the money you owe. This is known as the statute of limitations. If you are in Florida and debt collectors are harassing you, you should know the time frame for debt collection. In this blog post, we will provide an overview of the statute of limitations on debt in Florida. We will also provide tips on protecting yourself from creditors and collection agencies.
Understanding statutes of limitation on Florida debt collection.
The statute of limitations is the time frame in which a creditor or collection agency can sue you for the money you owe. In the state of Florida, the statute of limitations on debt is four years. If a creditor or collection agency attempts to sue you for debt over four years old, they will not be successful.
There are a few exceptions to this rule. If you have made a payment on the debt within the past four years, the clock will start ticking again from the date of your last payment. Additionally, if you have signed a reaffirmation agreement with your creditor, the statute of limitations will be extended to five years. Contracts that specify an expiration time such as auto loans which may expire after 5 years should always be double-checked before making any assumptions regarding their validity timespan.
Different types of debt
There are four types of debts that have different statutes of limitations in Florida:
– Oral contracts:
Oral contracts are agreements where the terms are spoken and not written down. An example of an oral contract would be if you verbally agreed with someone to pay them back for a loan.
The statute of limitation for oral contracts is four years.
Open-ended accounts are lines of credit with no set end date, such as credit cards and department store cards. With an open-ended account, you can borrow money up to your credit limit and make payments until the balance is paid in full.
The statute of limitation for open-ended accounts is five years.
Written contracts are agreements where the terms are written down. Whether written on a piece of cloth or paper, if the terms of an agreement are in writing, it is considered a written contract.
The statute of limitation for written contracts is five years.
A promissory note is a document in which you promise to repay a debt. The details of a promissory note, such as the amount of money you owe and the interest rate, are recorded. Examples are student loans, car loans, and mortgages.
The statute of limitation for promissory notes is five years from the date of default to begin a legal action to recuperate debts on the note.
Debt Collection Procedures in Florida.
According to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, there are proper procedures for debt collection in Florida. Debt collectors and creditors must follow specific guidelines, including:
A debt collector or creditor may contact you by phone, mail, or in person to collect a debt. They may not contact you at an unreasonable time or place. For example, they may only call you after 8 am or 9 pm. They may only contact you at work if they know your employer allows personal calls.
-Communicating with others:
A debt collector or creditor may not contact other people, such as your friends, family, or employer, to discuss your debt. They can only contact these people to try to locate you.
A debt collector or creditor may not harass, threaten, or use abusive language when communicating with you.
-Falsifying information or being dubious:
A debt collector or creditor may not lie to you about the amount of money you owe, the status of your debt, or your identity. They are not allowed to make false statements, such as :
- Saying that you have committed a crime
- Telling you that they work for the government
- Send you documents that look like they are from the court or government but are not
- Trying to collect more money than you owe
- Trying to collect interest, fees, or other charges on your debt
What is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act?
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is a set of guidelines that debt collectors and creditors must follow when communicating with debtors. These guidelines specify what times of day they are allowed to call, what types of communication they are allowed to use, and what language they are allowed to use.
Additionally, the Act prohibits debt collectors from lying about the amount of money owed, the status of the debt, or the debtor’s identity. Finally, the Act protects debtors from being harassed, threatened, or abused by debt collectors.
How to protect yourself from Debt Collectors.
If a debt collector is harassing you, you can take steps to protect yourself.
To have the most substantial evidence for your case, keep records of each interaction you have with the debt collector or creditor. This communication history should include letters, emails, and phone calls. For each interaction, document the date and time the industry happened and what was said verbatim. Getting the name of who you spoke to is also incredibly useful.
-Send a cease and desist letter:
A cease and desist letter halts all communication from a debt collector or creditor. After receiving the letter, they are only allowed to contact you for two reasons: to confirm that they will stop contacting you or to notify you of specific legal action, such as filing a lawsuit.
-File a complaint:
If the debt collector or creditor has violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, you can file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. You should contact an experienced attorney to help file your complaint.
What to do if you can’t pay your Debt.
If you can’t pay your debt, consider exploring a few options that are available.
-Negotiate with the creditor:
You can try to negotiate with the creditor to set up a payment plan or lower the amount of money you owe. Consider hiring a debt settlement company or attorney to facilitate this.
-File for bankruptcy:
If you cannot pay your debt, you can file for bankruptcy. This will discharge your debt and give you a fresh start. It involves hiring a bankruptcy attorney and going through the bankruptcy process.
-Get help from a nonprofit:
Many nonprofits offer assistance with debt. They can help you negotiate with creditors or set up a payment plan. Nonprofits like the National Foundation for Credit Counseling and the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies can help you find a reputable nonprofit.
What are Florida Debt Relief Programs?
Many Florida debt relief programs are available to help you pay off your debt. These programs can offer you lower interest rates, monthly payments, or extended repayment periods. Some of the most popular Florida debt relief programs include:
-Florida Debt Consolidation Program:
The Florida Debt Consolidation Program consolidates all your debts into one lower monthly payment. This program can help you get out of debt faster and save money on interest. For instance, if you have $10,000 in debt with an interest rate of 20%, you could save over $5,000 in interest by consolidating your debt into this program.
-Florida Debt Settlement Program:
The Florida Debt Settlement Program settles your debts for less than what you owe. This program can help you quickly get out of debt and save interest money. For instance, debt settlement companies often charge a fee of 15% of the debt, which means you would only have to pay $1,500 to settle a $10,000 debt. It works by the debt settlement company negotiating with your creditors to lower the amount of money you owe.
-Florida Debt Management Program:
The Florida Debt Management Program helps you eliminate debt by consolidating your debts into one lower monthly payment. This program also provides you with counseling and financial education to help you stay out of debt in the future. For instance, the average monthly payment in this program is only $199, which could help you save thousands of dollars on interest over the program’s life.
Before getting on a relief program, ensure you understand all the terms and conditions and the fees involved. You should also ensure that the program is accredited by a legitimate accreditation agency, such as the Better Business Bureau. Additionally, involve an experienced attorney to help you choose the right program.
What are some tips for avoiding Debt in Florida?
Here are some tips for avoiding debt in Florida:
-Create a budget:
One of the best ways to avoid debt is to create a budget and stick to it. This will help you track your income and expenses so that you can make changes if necessary.
Another great way to avoid debt is to save money. You should have an emergency fund that can cover unexpected expenses, such as a car repair or medical bill. This will help you avoid using credit cards or loans to pay for these expenses.
-Live within your means:
Another great way to avoid debt is to live within your means. This means spending less money than you make and only buying what you can afford. If you can do this, you will be less likely to use credit cards or take out loans to pay for your expenses.
-Pay your bills on time:
One of the most important things you can do to avoid debt is to pay your bills on time. This includes your mortgage, car loan, credit card, and other bills. You will avoid late fees and interest charges if you can do this.
-Use credit wisely:
If you do use credit, make sure you use it wisely. This means only using it for things you need and making sure you can afford the payments. If you can do this, you will avoid getting into debt.
If you are having trouble avoiding debt, many resources are available to help you. You can contact a credit counseling agency like the National Foundation for Credit Counseling or try one of the many debt relief programs available. You should consult an experienced attorney to help choose the best option for your needs.
Frequently Asked Questions about Statutes of Limitation on debt in Florida.
The statute of limitations on debt in Florida is four years. This means creditors have four years to file a lawsuit against you for unpaid debt.
If you don’t pay your debt, your creditors can sue you. If they win the lawsuit, they can get a judgment against you. This means they can garnish your wages or put a lien on your property.
Yes, you can still be sued after the statute of limitations expires. However, if you are sued after the statute of limitations expires, you can raise the statute of limitations as a defense. The creditor will have to prove that the debt is still valid.
If you agree to pay the debt, the statute of limitations is extended. This means that the creditor can sue you at any time.
If you are in bankruptcy, you can still be sued for debt. However, the creditor will have to get permission from the bankruptcy court first.