58-70-115. Unfair practices.

No collection agency shall collect or attempt to collect any debt by use of any unfair practices. Such practices include, but are not limited to, the following:

(1) Seeking or obtaining any written statement or acknowledgment in any form containing an affirmation of any debt by a consumer who has been declared bankrupt, an acknowledgment of any debt barred by the statute of limitations, or a waiver of any legal rights of the debtor without disclosing the nature and consequences of such affirmation or waiver and the fact that the consumer is not legally obligated to make such affirmation or waiver.

(2) Collecting or attempting to collect from the consumer all or any part of the collection agency's fee or charge for services rendered, collecting or attempting to collect any interest or other charge, fee or expense incidental to the principal debt unless legally entitled to such fee or charge.

(3) Communicating with a consumer whenever the collection agency has been notified by the consumer's attorney that he represents said consumer.

(4) When the collection agency is a debt buyer or is acting on behalf of a debt buyer, bringing suit or initiating an arbitration proceeding against the debtor or otherwise attempting to collect on a debt when the collection agency knows, or reasonably should know, that such collection is barred by the applicable statute of limitations.

(5) When the collection agency is a debt buyer or acting on behalf of a debt buyer, bringing suit or initiating an arbitration proceeding against the debtor, or otherwise attempting to collect on the debt without (i) valid documentation that the debt buyer is the owner of the specific debt instrument or account at issue and (ii) reasonable verification of the amount of the debt allegedly owed by the debtor. For purposes of this subdivision, reasonable verification shall include documentation of the name of the original creditor, the name and address of the debtor as appearing on the original creditor's records, the original consumer account number, a copy of the contract or other document evidencing the consumer debt, and an itemized accounting of the amount claimed to be owed, including all fees and charges.

(6) When the collection agency is a debt buyer or acting on behalf of a debt buyer, bringing suit or initiating an arbitration proceeding against the debtor to collect on a debt without first giving the debtor written notice of the intent to file a legal action at least 30 days in advance of filing. The written notice shall include the name, address, and telephone number of the debt buyer, the name of the original creditor and the debtor's original account number, a copy of the contract or other document evidencing the consumer debt, and an itemized accounting of all amounts claimed to be owed.

(7) Failing to comply with Part 5 of this Article. (1979, c. 835; 2009-573, s. 5.)