Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

After criticism, McCollum, Sink vow to rein in abusive debt collectors

TALLAHASSEE — Responding to criticism over inactivity on 4,400 state complaints against debt collectors, Attorney General Bill McCollum and Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink proposed separate measures Tuesday to rein in abusive tactics.

The gubernatorial rivals' dueling announcements — coming less than 30 minutes apart — further inflamed a weeklong feud that began after the Orlando Sentinel exposed serious cracks in the system designed to protect consumers.

The analysis found McCollum's office did little to address 4,400 complaints received this year. His office blamed Sink, even though her office doesn't oversee the Office of Financial Regulation, which licenses the collectors. The fight served as a precursor to the governor's race between Sink, a Democrat, and McCollum, a Republican.

Sink declared her support for four reforms that would make it easier to investigate, punish and track problematic debt collectors.

"We do need to put more teeth in the laws," Sink said in an interview. "We need some new legislation to prevent these debt collectors from harassing our citizens."

Less than 30 minutes later, McCollum's office issued a statement asking the Legislature for more power to file civil lawsuits against the aggressive debt collectors. In a letter to House Speaker Larry Cretul and Senate President Jeff Atwater, McCollum proposed an initiative to make some tactics an inherent violation of the state's Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.

"I'd like to have the law changed so it's easier to prove," McCollum said at a news conference. "So if my office wants to, we can go to court and shut down those debt collectors."

McCollum said his office formed a task force to look at each complaint and work with the financial regulation office.

After criticism, McCollum, Sink vow to rein in abusive debt collectors 11/03/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 3, 2009 10:28pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Bucs journal: Kicker Nick Folk has up and downs against Jaguars


    JACKSONVILLE — If the Bucs had hoped for a drama-free night in their kicking game, they'll have to wait another week.

    Bucs kicker Nick Folk celebrates one of his two made field goals against the Jaguars, but he also misses a field goal and has an extra point blocked.
  2. Late night update: Second wave follows Tropical Storm Harvey


    UPDATE: At 11 p.m. the National Hurricane Center said a hurricane hunter plane had determined that Tropical Storm Harvey had formed with sustained winds of 40 mph.

    Three tropical waves are expected to strengthen as they move across the Atlantic Ocean. [Courtesy of the National Hurricane Center]
  3. Stealth anti-Jack Latvala group tied to Adam Putnam campaign


    Politico reports:

     A longtime political consultant for Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam is behind a website calling one of his rivals in the race, state Sen. Jack Latvala, a “liberal.”

  4. Council gives in to pension dispute with St. Pete firefighters

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The City Council was forced to consider its first labor dispute in years Thursday when it gave the firefighters union most of the pension enhancements it has long asked for.

    The firefighters’ union won a pension victory at Thursday’s City Council meeting. [SCOTT KEELER    |      TIMES]
  5. Bucs top Jaguars behind strong first half



    There is a reason why the air in Tampa Bay is filled with playoff talk. If Thursday night's 12-8 Bucs preseason win over the Jaguars is any indication, it's also going to be filled with footballs thrown by quarterback Jameis Winston.

    Doug Martin gets the Bucs’ only touchdown  on a 2-yard run, squeaking past linebacker Telvin Smith in the first quarter. He has five carries for 30 yards.