Like many of us, third-party collectors have jobs to do. In this case, that job is to attempt to collect debts, which isn’t inherently a problem.
The problem arises when these third-party collectors use unscrupulous and aggressive tactics to collect on these debts. For example, they may try to call you at work after you’ve asked them to stop.
They may make your phone ring repeatedly or leave you multiple voicemails. They may even try to talk to unauthorized parties about your debt.
Unfortunately, this happens in Rhode Island and all across the country.
Fortunately for U.S. consumers, there is a form of protection. The Federal Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a federal law that is meant to keep third-party collectors from engaging in this kind of behavior.
Since it’s a federal law, its protections extend to all 50 U.S. states. In other words, you have a way to make the harassment stop.
Arming yourself with knowledge is the first step. Consider making your second step contacting a lawyer. If you do that, you’ll have an advocate who can help your life return to a sense of normalcy.
Rhode Island’s Debt Collection Protections
The FDCPA applies to all U.S. states, but keep in mind that Rhode Island has its own debt collection laws on the books. Knowing these laws can help you figure out whether the third-party collector is committing an FDCPA violation.
For example, third-party collectors aren’t allowed to threaten legal action if they cannot take it. If you have a debt that falls outside of the statute of limitations, then they shouldn’t be threatening legal action.
The statute of limitations refers to the amount of time that a creditor has to file a lawsuit against you for your unpaid debt.
Even though they can technically contact you about the debt indefinitely, third-party collectors should not be threatening legal action on old debts.
In Rhode Island, the statute of limitations on contracts and open accounts is ten years, and it’s twenty years for contracts and liabilities under seal.
Rhode Island enjoys all of the protections of the FDCPA, just like every other U.S. state. This means that you are protected from third-party collectors who:
- Impersonate an IRS agent or other government agent
- Send you embarrassing mail that clearly states that it’s from a debt collector
- Call you before 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m. in your time zone
- Use profane language in their correspondence with you
These are just some of the protections that the FDCPA offers. If you have been experiencing harassment that doesn’t fall neatly into one of these categories, look into the FDCPA’s other provisions and then contact an attorney to see what options you have for filing a claim.
Talk to An Attorney Today
Unscrupulous third-party collectors can be found all across the country. What’s unfortunate for them is the fact that the FDCPA extends just as far.
An experienced FDCPA attorney will be in the best position to help you with your case. Your lawyer will help you gather evidence, build a case, and argue on your behalf–and the lawyer will do this all on a contingency fee basis.
This means that you won’t even have to pay your attorney unless you win your case, and you can contact an attorney with the knowledge that you have little to lose and a lot (up to $1,000 per FDCPA violation) to gain.