Before September 20, 1977, debt collection agencies had their way with American consumers. Think about a 300-pound male sitting on a seesaw, with an 80-pound child sitting on the other side of the fulcrum.
Advantage debt collection agencies.
Because the outcry against third party debt collector abuse and harassment reached a fever pitch, the United States Congress passed the consumer bill of rights called the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The FDCPA contains two primary sections.
One section clearly lists illegal bill collector practices, while the second section outlines the legal remedies consumers have to address illegal debt collection tactics. For example, if a consumer wins a case against a debt collection agency in civil court, the consumer has the right to receive compensation for attorney fees.
Maine and State FDCPA Laws
The intent of the FDCPA was to cover every American consumer living in each of the 50 states. Shortly after passage of the important consumer protection law, several states passed their own versions of the FDCPA to fill in the legal gaps created by federal consumer protection law.
Maine eventually became one of the states that enacted FDCPA laws. For the most part, Maine FDCPA closely mirror the provisions written into the federal FDCPA. Maine FDCPA laws emphasize the illegality of bill collectors issuing threats or using abusive language in attempts to force consumers into paying off outstanding credit card and personal loan balances.
How Federal and Maine FDCPA Laws Help Protect You
The original FDCPA includes a provision that allows you to send a formal notice requesting a debt collection agency stop contacting you. If a third party debt collector ignores the cease and desist request, you have the right under the federal FDCPA to work with a consumer protection lawyer to stop the harassment.
A bill collector is prohibited from taking money out of your bank account, without first obtaining a wage garnishment ruling from a civil court judge. You never have to put up with a debt collection agency contacting family members and/or professional peers in an attempt into shaming you enough to settle a delinquent consumer debt.
Maine FDCPA laws have established the state as a one party consent state. This means only one person involved in a phone call has to give permission for the phone call to be tape recorded.
The one party consent provision of Maine FDCPA laws comes in handy whenever a third party debt collector violates the law by calling you after 9 pm and before 8 am. In Maine, the statute of limitations for debt collections is six years.
The clock starts on the last day any activity was made on an outstanding credit card or personal loan account.
Both Maine and the federal government passed FDCPA laws to level the legal playing field between consumers and bill collectors. Make sure you receive every right granted under FDCPA laws by speaking with a Maine licensed consumer protection attorney today.
If you believe that a debt collector is violating Maine’s 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.