TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Nov. 4 (UPI) -- Authorities in Florida said they would take steps to rein in abusive debt collectors, including simplifying the complaints process and increasing penalties.
The state's Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink said she would appeal to state lawmakers to increase the options available to the Office of Financial Regulation. State Attorney General Bill McCollum said he would ask legislators to revamp Florida's Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act to include certain tactics debt collectors use, such as posing as legal authorities.
"There are clear, common sense changes that are needed to better protect Florida's consumers against these abusive debt collector practices," Sink said in a statement, The Orlando, Fla., Sentinel reported Wednesday.
A spokeswoman for McCollum's office Sandi Copes said putting violations under the Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practice Act, "completely unshackles us."
"If we get that, it really lets us off the leash," she said.
The attorney general's office would also start forwarding complaints to the Office of Financial Regulation, McCollum said.