Did Debt Collection Calls Kill This Man?

"We really feel strongly that every consumer deserves to be treated with dignity and respect," he said.

Generally, debt collectors are subject to federal rules under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, enforced by the FTC, which prohibits harassment by debt collectors.

But many mortgage servicing companies -- unlike traditional debt collection agencies -- don't fall under the federal rules, according to Geoff Walsh, a staff attorney with National Consumer Law Center. Some, he said, may be subject to state rules instead. To determine whether a mortgage servicer may have violated a state or federal law, Walsh recommends individuals contact their state attorney general.

Billy Howard, McLeod's lawyer, said Florida state law does ban harassment by companies like Green Tree.

"Our legislature recognizes the need to be protected against banks, creditors, mortgage companies and the like," Howard said.

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