Dealing with falling behind on bills can trigger considerable stress and anxiety. The personal struggle ramps up a few notches when a debt collection agency hounds you into paying off an outstanding credit card or personal loan account.
Fortunately for consumers, a sweeping federal consumer protection law makes it illegal for third party debt collector to harass consumers into paying off delinquent debts.
Enacted by the United States Congress on September 20, 1977, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is the ultimate consumer bill of rights in the United States.
The consumer protection law outlaws dozens of previously acceptable debt collection practices that include calling consumers repeatedly and contacting consumers in the workplace, without the consent of employers.
Moreover, the FDCPA gives you the right to seek monetary damages for one or more violations of the federal law.
What are the FDCPA Laws in Vermont?
The primary intent of the FDCPA was to protect every American consumer from overly aggressive debt collection practices. This means a consumer living in Tucson, Arizona enjoys the same FDCPA rights a consumer enjoys who lives in Athens, Georgia.
Like many other states, the Green Mountain State has enacted a FDCPA law the sets the statute of limitations for debt collections. In Vermont, the statute of limitations for collecting delinquent consumer debts is six years.
The statute of limitations begins on the day of the last activity on the account in question. Vermont’s FDCPA laws closely resemble the provisions written into the federal FDCPA.
Consumer Protections Granted by the FDCPA and Vermont Collection Laws
Under the FDCPA, you have the right to send a third party debt collector a formal cease and desist notice. If a bill collector does not honor your request, your best strategy is to work with a licensed FDCPA attorney to make the letters and phone calls stop.
A debt collection agency cannot threaten you with legal action, as well as demand that you pay more than you owe on a credit card or personal loan balance. The FDCPA prohibits debt collection agencies from implementing deceptive debt collection techniques.
Some of the methods used by third party debt collectors to deceive consumers include impersonating the IRS. The fear instilled by the IRS is an effective way to motivate consumers into taking care of outstanding debts.
One of the most violated provisions of the FDCPA involves when debt collection agencies call consumers. A third party debt collector is permitted to call you at home and on your cell phone between 8 am and 9 pm. Vermont FDCPA laws have made the state a one party consent state.
This means only you need to grant permission for tape recording a phone call. A recorded phone call with a bill collector will provide your lawyer with proof the debt collection agency violated the FDCPA.
Your consumer protection attorney will also determine if the FDCPA violations have directly caused physical and/or emotional distress.
If you believe that a debt collector is violating Vermont’s FDCPA laws, you should seek the help of a 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.