Florida Senate - 2016                       CS for CS for SB 562
       By the Committees on Commerce and Tourism; and Banking and
       Insurance; and Senators Stargel and Gaetz
       577-02904-16                                           2016562c2
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to consumer debt collection; amending
    3         s. 559.72, F.S.; authorizing a debtor to individually
    4         notify a person that is represented by an attorney
    5         under certain circumstances; providing that an
    6         original creditor is not liable for a violation of
    7         prohibited communication practices if the debtor or
    8         the debtor’s attorney fails to provide certain notice
    9         or information; providing notification requirements;
   10         providing that an original creditor must cease direct
   11         communication with the debtor under certain
   12         circumstances; providing an effective date.
   14  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   16         Section 1. Subsection (18) of section 559.72, Florida
   17  Statutes, is amended to read:
   18         559.72 Prohibited practices generally.—In collecting
   19  consumer debts, no person shall:
   20         (18) Communicate with a debtor if the person knows that the
   21  debtor is represented by an attorney with respect to such debt
   22  and has knowledge of, or can readily ascertain, such attorney’s
   23  name and address, unless the debtor’s attorney fails to respond
   24  within 30 days to a communication from the person, unless the
   25  debtor’s attorney consents to a direct communication with the
   26  debtor, or unless the debtor initiates the communication. A
   27  debtor, individually, may notify such person of attorney
   28  representation by way of any reasonable means, including verbal
   29  notice.
   30         (a) An original creditor is not liable for a violation of
   31  this subsection if the debtor or debtor’s attorney fails to
   32  provide notification of representation. With respect to
   33  notification of representation by a debtor’s attorney, an
   34  original creditor has knowledge that a debtor is represented by
   35  an attorney if the attorney representing the debtor has provided
   36  notification of such representation by:
   37         1. Service of pleadings in a filed action;
   38         2. Providing written notice of representation by certified
   39  mail to the registered agent of the original creditor which
   40  states that the debtor is represented by an attorney with
   41  respect to such debt and which discloses the attorney’s name and
   42  address; or
   43         3. Providing notice of representation by mail, facsimile,
   44  e-mail, or other electronic format designated by the creditor on
   45  a billing statement which states that the debtor is represented
   46  by an attorney with respect to such debt and which discloses the
   47  attorney’s name and address. The original creditor shall
   48  designate at least one of the following communication methods on
   49  a billing statement: a mailing address facsimile, e-mail, or
   50  other electronic format.
   51         (b) For purposes of this subsection, an original creditor
   52  must cease direct communication with the debtor subject to the
   53  limitations and exceptions of this subsection within 5 business
   54  days upon receiving notice of representation from the attorney
   55  representing the debtor.
   56         Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2016.