Massachusetts consumers benefit from federal and state laws that prohibit third party debt collectors from implementing certain tactics used to collect outstanding debts. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) outlaws aggressive debt collector behavior that includes using abusive language and making physical threats.
Debt collectors also must refrain from deceiving consumers, such as sending fake correspondence to impersonating law enforcement officials. The Massachusetts Division of Banks has filled in the legal holes left by the FDCPA, especially when it comes to defining the statute of limitations for debt collections and creating guidelines third party debt collectors must follow for garnishing consumer wages.
If Peter Roberts & Associates contacts you in regards to a debt, you should speak with a licensed Massachusetts lawyer to determine the best course of legal action.
What is the Statute of Limitations for Debt Collection in Massachusetts?
The Bay State limits the amount of time debt collectors have to pursue delinquent consumer debts to six years. Third party debt collectors decide which of two dates qualifies as the start date for the statute of limitations.
A debt Collector like Peter Roberts & Associates can opt to go with the last date you made a payment on the credit account in question or select the date when the original creditor closed the account. The six-year statute of limitations for debt collection is higher than the national average.
Massachusetts Law and Debt Collection Fees
When a third party debt collector purchases an outstanding debts from an original creditor, the agency purchases the amount owed on the debt and the fees the original creditor charged for debt collection.
However, Massachusetts law allows third party debt collectors to continue charging fees and interest if the language written into the original contract permits additional fees and interest.
Because of the ambiguity of credit contracts, you should speak with a lawyer to see if the original contract you signed with a creditor permits debt collectors to tack on more money in addition to what you already owe.
Can a Debt Collector Garnish My Wages?
Massachusetts has one of the most consumer friendly wage garnishment laws on the books. A third party debt collector such as Peter Roberts & Associates cannot take more than 15% of your disposable income or 50 times the federal minimum wage, whichever is the lesser amount.
For example, if your disposable income is $600 per week and the federal minimum wage is $9 per hour, a debt collector has the legal authority to garnish the lower amount of $90.
Make Federal and Massachusetts Law Work for You
By speaking with a licensed Massachusetts lawyer, you ensure the legal protections granted by the FDCPA and state law work in your favor. An experienced lawyer will prevent an unethical agency from pursuing a debt beyond the statute of limitations running six years.
Your lawyer will also decide if you should file a claim against Peter Roberts & Associates to seek actual damages.
*Disclaimer: The content of this article serves only to provide information and should not be constructed as legal advice. If you file a claim against Peter Roberts & Associates or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.