CONSUMER COLLECTION PRACTICES
559.551 Short Title Sections 559.55-559.785 may be cited as “Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act.”
559.552 Relationship of state and federal law– Nothing in this part shall be construed to limit or restrict the continued applicability of the federal Debt Collection Practices Act to consumer collection practices in this state. This part is in addition to the requirements and regulations of the federal act. In the event of inconsistency between any provisions of this part and any provisions of the federal act, the provisions which is more protective of the consumer or debtor shall prevail.
559.553 Relationship of consumer collection agencies required, exemptions- (1) A person may not engage in business in this state as a consumer collection agency without first registering in accordance with this part, and thereafter maintaining a valid registration. (2) Each consumer collection agency doing business in this state shall register with the office and renew such registration annually set forth in 559.555 (3) This section does not apply to: (a) An original creditor. (b) A member of The Florida Bar (c) A financial institution authorized to do business in this state and any wholly owned subsidiary and affiliate there of. (d) A licensed real estate owner. (e) An insurance company authorized to do business in this state. (f) A consumer finance company and any wholly owned subsidiary and affiliate there of. (g) A person licensed pursuant to chapter 520. (h) An out of state consumer debt collector who does not solicit consumer debt accounts for collection from credit grantors who have a business presence in this state. (i) An FDIC insured institution or subsidiary or affiliate there of. (4) An out of state consumer debt collector as defined in s. 595.55 (11) who is not exempt from registration by application of subsection (3) and who fails to register in accordance with this part shall be subject to an enforcement action by the state as specified in s. 559-565 5
559.554 Powers and duties of the commissions and office. (1) The office is responsible for administration and enforcement of this part. (2) The commission may adopt rules to administer this part, including rules: (a) Requiring electronic submission forms, documents and fees required by this part. (b) Establishing time periods during which a consumer collection agency is barred from registration due to prior criminal convictions of, or guilty or nolo contender pleas by, an applicant’s control persons, regardless of adjudication. 1. The rules must provide: (a) A 15 year disqualifying period for felonies involving fraud, dishonesty, breach of trust, money laundering, or other acts of moral turpitude. (b) A 7 year disqualifying period for other felonies. (c) A 5 year disqualifying period for misdemeanors involving fraud, dishonesty, or other acts of moral turpitude. 2. The rules must provide for an additional waiting period due to dates of imprisonment or community supervision, the commitment of multiple crimes, and other factors reasonably related to the applicants criminal history. 3. The rules must provide for mitigating factors for crimes identified in sub-subparagraphs 1.a, 1.b, and 1.c 4. An applicant is not edible for registration until expiration of the disqualifying period set by rule. 5. Section 12.011 does not apply to eligibility for registrant under this part. (3) All fees, charge and fines collected pursuant to this part shall be deposited into the Regulatory Trust Fund of the office.
559.5541 Examinations and investigations (1) Notwithstanding s 559.725(4), the office may, without advance notice, conduct examinations and investigations, within or outside this state, to determine whether a person has violated this part or related rules. For purposes of this section the office may examine books, accounts, records, and other documents or matters of any person subject to this part. The office may compel the production of all relevant books, records, and other documents and materials relative to an examination or investigation. Examinations may not be made more often than once during a 48 month period unless the office has reason to believe a person has violated or will violate this part or related rules. (2) In order to reduce the burdens on persons subject to this part, the office may conduct a joint or concurrent examination with a state or federal regulatory agency and may furnish a copy of all examinations to an appropriate regulator if the regulator agrees to abide by the confidentiality provisions in Chapter 119 and this part The office may also accept an examination from any propitiate regulator .
559.555 Registration of consumer collection agencies, procedure.- (1) A person who acts as a consumer collection agency must be registered in accordance with this section. (2) In order to apply for consumer collection agency registration, an applicant must (a) Submit a completed application form as prescribed by rule of the commission. (b) Submit a nonrefundable application fee of 4200. Application fees may not be prorated for partial years of registration. (c) Submit fingerprints for each of the applicants control persons in accordance to the rules adopted by the commission. 1. The fingerprints may be submitted through a third party vendor authorized by the Department of Law Enforcement to provide live scan fingerprinting. 2. A state criminal history background check must be conducted through the Department of Law Enforcement, and a national criminal history background check must be conducted through the Federal Bureau of Investigation. 3. All fingerprints submitted to the Department of Law Enforcement must be submitted electronically and entered into the statewide automated biometric identification system established in s 943.05 (2)(b) and available for use in accordance with 943.05 (2)(g) and (h). The office shall pay an annual fee to the Department of Law Enforcement to participate in the system and inform the Department of Law Enforcement of any persons whose fingerprints are no longer required to be retained. 4. The cost of fingerprint processing, including the cost of retaining fingerprints, shall be borne by the person subject to the background check. 5. The office is responsible for reviewing the results of the state and national criminal history background checks and determining whether the applicant meets registration requirements. (3) The office shall issue a consumer collection agency registration to each person who is not otherwise ineligible and who meets the requirements of this section. However, it is ground for denial of registration if the applicant or one of the applicants control persons has committed any violation specified in this art, or is the subject of pending felony criminal prosecution or a prosecution or an administrative enforcement action, in any jurisdiction, which involves fraud, dishonesty, breach of trust, money laundering, or any other act of moral turpitude. (4) A registration issued under this part is not transferable or assignable. (5) A consumer collection agency shall report, on a form prescribed by rule of the commission, any changed in the information contained in an initial application form, or an amendment thereto, within 30 days after the change s effective. (6) Renewal of registration shall be made between October 1 and December 31 of each year. There shall be no proration of the fee for any registration. in order to renew a consumer collection agency registration, a registrant must submit a nonrefundable renewal fee equal to the registration fee and a nonrefundable fee to cover the costs of further fingerprint processing and retention as set forth by commission rules.
559.5551 Requirements of registrants- A registrant under this part shall report the the office in a manner prescribed by rule of the commission. (1) A conviction of, or pleas of nolo contendere to, regardless of adjudication, a crime of administrative violation that involves fraud, dishonesty, breach of trust, money laundering, or any other act of moral turpitude, in any other jurisdiction, by the registrant or any control person within 30 days after the date of conviction, entry of a plea of nolo contendere, or final administrative action. ( 2) A conviction of, or pleas of nolo contendere to, regardless of adjudication, a felony committed by the registrant or any other person within 30 days after the date of conviction or the date the plea of nolo contendere is entered. (3) A change to the information contained in an initial application form or amendment to the application within 30 days after the change s effective. (4) An addition or subtraction of a control person or a change in the form of business organization. A control person added by a registrant is subject to this part and must submit fingerprints in accordance with s 559.555 and the rules of commission. The office may bring administrative action in accordance with s 559.730 to enforce this part if added control person fails to meet registration requirements or comply with any other provision of this part.
559.556 Maintenance of records- (1) Each registered consumer collection agency shall maintain, at the principal place of business designated on the registration, all books, accounts, records, and documents neccasary to determine the registrant’s compliance with this part. (2) The office may authorize the maintenance of records at a location other then a principal place of business. The office may require books, accounts and records to be produced and available at a reasonable and convenient location in the state. (3) The commissions may prescribe by rule the minimum information to be shown in the books, accounts, records and documents of registrants so that such records enable the office to determine the registrant’s compliance with this part. (4) All books, accounts, records, documents and receipts of any debt collection transaction must be preserved and kept available for inspection by the office for at least 3 years after the date the transaction is completed. The commissions may prescribe by rule requirements for the destruction of books, accounts, records, documents retained by the registrant after the completion of the 3 years.
559.558 Public records exemption;investigation and examinations-
559.563 Void registration
59.715 Assignment of Consumer debt 559.565 Enforcement action against out of state consumer debt collector 559.715 Assignment of consumer debts- 559.72 Prohibit practices generally. 559.725 Consumer complaints;administrative duties 559.726 Subpoenas 559.727 Cease and desist orders 559.730 Grounds for disciplinary action;administrative remedies.- 559.77 Civil remedies 559.78 Judicial enforcement 559.785 Criminal Penalty
PART VII Licensing by Department of Business and Professional Regulation
559.79 Application for License or renewal (1) Each applicant for a license issued by the Department of Business and professional Regulation shall include a statement showing the name, address, and social security number of each person who owns 10 percent or more of the outstanding stock or equity interest in the licensed activity and the name, address, and social security number of each officer, director, chief executive, or other person who, in accordance with the rules of the issuing agency is determined to be able directly or indirectly to control the operation of the business of the licensed entity, and each application for renewal of such a license shall set out any changes in the required names ans addresses which have occurred since the license was issued or last renewed. (2) Each applicant for a license or a renewal of a licenses issued by the Department of Business and professional Regulation shall be signed under oath or affirmation by the applicant, or owner or chief executive of the applicant, without the need for witnesses unless required by law (3) The department shall work cooperatively with the Department of Revenue to establish an automated method for periodically disclosing information relating to current licensees to the Department of Revenue, the states title IV-D agency. The purpose of this subsection is to promote the public policy of this state relating to child support as s 409.2598 suspend or dent the license of any licensee found not to be in compliance with a support order. a subpoena, an order to show cause, or a written agreement with the Department of Revenue. The department shall issue or reinstate the license without additional charge to the licensee when notified by the court or Department of Revenue that the licensee has complied with the terms of the support order. The department is not liable for any denial or suspension resulting from the discharge of its duties under this subsection.
559.791 False swearing on application;penalties. Any license issued by the Department of Business and professional Regulation which is issued or renewed in response to an application upon which the person signing under oath or affirmation has falsely sworn to a material statement, including but not limited to, the names and addresses of the owners and managers of the licensee or applicant, shall be subject to denial of the application or suspension or revocation of the license, and the person falseley swearing shall be subject to any other penalties provided law.