As the cornerstone of the United State Constitution, the Bill of Rights established legal protections for American citizen that range from the right of free speech to the prohibition of unlawful searches and seizures. It took nearly 200 years for the United States Congress to enact a consumer bill of rights.
Since September 20, 1977, American consumers have gained equal legal footing with debt collection agencies.
Referred to as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), the groundbreaking federal consumer protection law has made several formerly accepted third party debt collector practices illegal.
For example, a bill collector cannot demand payment of an alleged outstanding debt that you have already paid off. In addition, the FDCPA gives consumers the right to file lawsuits against debt collection agencies. You have the right to seek monetary damages for suffering from physical and/or emotional duress.
FDCPA Laws in Arizona
The original FDCPA covers every American citizen living throughout the nation. Each of the 50 states have passed FDCPA laws that third party debt collectors must follows as well. State laws typically mirror the language written into the federal FDCPA.
However, many states have included additional provisions that make it illegal for bill collectors to take certain actions. For example, Alabama emphasizes the illegality of a debt collection agency misrepresenting the amount on a delinquent credit card or personal loan account.
States also have established statute of limitations on the collection of outstanding consumer debts, with Alabama imposing a statute of limitations of six years for credit card debt.
Legal Protections Granted by Federal and Alabama FDCPA Laws
Under the federal FDCPA, bill collectors are prohibited from issuing threats of any kid. It is illegal for a debt collection agency to threaten you with jail time, as well as threaten to take away any of your property.
A third party debt collector must honor a cease and desist letter that requests the end of all forms of communication. If the phone calls continue, working with an Alabama licensed FDCPA attorney will set the legal wheels in motion to stop the calls.
Bill collectors are also not allowed to contact third parties in attempts to persuade consumers to settle credit card and personal loan accounts.
Arizona FDCPA laws define a bill collector as any entity that is “engaged” in collecting “alleged or actual debts.” This includes companies that are hired by original creditors to collect delinquent consumer credit card and personal loan balances.
In Arizona, debt collection agencies must acquire a license to operate legally and provide the state with a bond. The Grand Canyon State makes it illegal for third party debt collectors to send any form of written communication that claims to be part of the judicial process.
Lawmakers added the provision to bolster the deception provision written into the federal FDCPA law. Bill collectors cannot try to collect court costs or attorney fees that a consumer is not legally obligated to pay.
Do not allow a debt collection agency to walk all over you. Speak with an experienced FDCPA lawyer to receive the legal protections granted by federal and Alabama consumer protection laws.
If you believe that a debt collector is violating Arizona FDCPA laws, you should seek the help of an FDCPA attorney. You may be able to seek up to $1,000 in damages for each violation of the FDCPA. An attorney will be able to help navigate you through the entire process.