Section 559.55, Florida Statutes 2001
559.55 Definitions.--The following terms shall, unless the context otherwise indicates, have the following meanings for the purpose of this part:
(1) "Debt" or "consumer debt" means any obligation or alleged obligation of a consumer to pay money arising out of a transaction in which the money, property, insurance, or services which are the subject of the transaction are primarily for personal, family, or household purposes, whether or not such obligation has been reduced to judgment.
(2) "Debtor" or "consumer" means any natural person obligated or allegedly obligated to pay any debt.
(3) "Creditor" means any person who offers or extends credit creating a debt or to whom a debt is owed, but does not include any person to the extent that they receive an assignment or transfer of a debt in default solely for the purpose of facilitating collection of such debt for another.
(4) "Department" means the Department of Banking and Finance.
(5) "Communication" means the conveying of information regarding a debt directly or indirectly to any person through any medium.
(6) "Debt collector" means any person who uses any instrumentality of commerce within this state, whether initiated from within or outside this state, in any business the principal purpose of which is the collection of debts, or who regularly collects or attempts to collect, directly or indirectly, debts owed or due or asserted to be owed or due another. The term "debt collector" includes any creditor who, in the process of collecting her or his own debts, uses any name other than her or his own which would indicate that a third person is collecting or attempting to collect such debts. The term does not include:
(a) Any officer or employee of a creditor while, in the name of the creditor, collecting debts for such creditor;
(b) Any person while acting as a debt collector for another person, both of whom are related by common ownership or affiliated by corporate control, if the person acting as a debt collector for persons to whom it is so related or affiliated and if the principal business of such persons is not the collection of debts;
(c) Any officer or employee of any federal, state, or local governmental body to the extent that collecting or attempting to collect any debt is in the performance of her or his official duties;
(d) Any person while serving or attempting to serve legal process on any other person in connection with the judicial enforcement of any debt;
(e) Any not-for-profit organization which, at the request of consumers, performs bona fide consumer credit counseling and assists consumers in the liquidation of their debts by receiving payments from such consumers and distributing such amounts to creditors; or
(f) Any person collecting or attempting to collect any debt owed or due or asserted to be owed or due another to the extent that such activity is incidental to a bona fide fiduciary obligation or a bona fide escrow arrangement; concerns a debt which was originated by such person; concerns a debt which was not in default at the time it was obtained by such person; or concerns a debt obtained by such person as a secured party in a commercial credit transaction involving the creditor.
(7) "Consumer collection agency" means any debt collector or business entity engaged in the business of soliciting consumer debts for collection or of collecting consumer debts, which debt collector or business is not expressly exempted as set forth in s. 559.553(4).
(8) "Out-of-state consumer debt collector" means any person whose business activities in this state involve both collecting or attempting to collect consumer debt from debtors located in this state by means of interstate communication originating from outside this state and soliciting consumer debt accounts for collection from creditors who have a business presence in this state. For purposes of this subsection, a creditor has a business presence in this state if either the creditor or an affiliate or subsidiary of the creditor has an office in this state.
(9) "Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act" or "Federal Act" means the federal legislation regulating fair debt collection practices, as set forth in Pub. L. No. 95-109, as amended and published in 15 U.S.C. ss. 1692 et seq.
History.--s. 1, ch. 72-81; s. 3, ch. 76-168; s. 1, ch. 77-457; ss. 3, 6, ch. 81-314; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; ss. 1, 3, ch. 83-265; ss. 4, 13, ch. 93-275; s. 817, ch. 97-103.