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Debt Collectors and Consumer Rights

Your rights as a consumer protect you from aggressive debt collectors and unfair or deceptive practices.

All consumers have certain rights, even if they're in debt. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and other laws, you can fight unfair or misleading practices by creditors, debt collectors and others.

This page is your hub for learning about your consumer rights.

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How the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Protects You

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a federal law that protects consumers from abusive, misleading, or harassing tactics by debt collectors. This article will explore the basic protections you’re given by the FDCPA and provide you with some helpful tips on how to deal with debt collectors who don’t follow the rules.

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How To Deal With Debt Collectors (When You Can’t Pay)

If you’re receiving calls from debt collectors about unpaid debt, there’s an obvious way to make it go away: Pay off the debt in question. But what if you’re at a point where it’s impossible for you to pay? It might seem like you’re out of options, but don’t despair — there’s a way out of this.

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How to Stop Debt Collection Companies?

Do you want to stop debt collection companies? You may need to do more than to request that they stop contacting you.

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What is a Consumer Protection Attorney?

A consumer protection attorney may help you protect your rights under one or many consumer protection laws.

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What is a Debt Collection Attorney?

If you're having trouble finding a debt collection attorney to help you with a lawsuit, you might want to consider filing for bankruptcy relief. You can file bankruptcy without an attorney to get rid of debts.

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Steps to Take if a Debt Collector Sues You?

There are three steps you can take if a debt collector sues you. Or, you can file bankruptcy. A bankruptcy will stop any pending debt collection lawsuits against you.

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How to protect yourself from debt collector harassment

You work hard to pay your bills, but unfortunately, you fell behind on your credit card payments and negotiations with creditors failed. Now your credit card debt has been sold to a debt collection agency that harasses you with endless phone calls, at times even threatening you. Is there anything you can do? Is this even legal? How do you get the debt collectors to stop harassing you? Continue reading to learn about the law on unfair collection practices and what your options are to protect yourself.

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Are You Getting Calls From Collection Agencies and Worried What Might Happen? Find Out Here!

Calls from debt collectors are stressful and - if you don’t know what to expect they can be downright scary. Learn whether a collection agency can sue you and how to protect your rights, so you’re ready the next time a collection agency calls.

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How to Stop Collection Calls (Guide)

If you have debt you’re struggling to manage, you don’t need the added stress of irritating collection calls. Keep reading to learn how you can stop debt collection calls from interrupting your life.

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Will I Go to Jail for Not Paying My Debts?

You can't be thrown in jail for not paying your credit cards and it's illegal for collection agencies to threaten you with jail time over the phone. Don’t be intimidated by such threats; be proactive, know your rights under the FDCPA, and research your debt relief options, such as credit counseling and Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

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Credit Report Fraud

Millions of people are victims of identity theft and other forms of credit report fraud each year. By carefully monitoring your credit and diligently rooting out credit report fraud, you can better ensure that, even if you’ve become a victim of fraud, your financial future will be protected.

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How to Remove Collection Accounts From Your Credit Report

You have a legal right to dispute debt reported by collection agencies and debt collectors. You can ask for validation or that it be removed from your credit report.

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I Am Being Sued for a Credit Card Debt. Now What?

A credit card company is suing you for unpaid debts. What do you do? This article explains how to handle a credit card lawsuit, different defenses you can use, and what to do if a judgment is entered against you.

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How to Dispute a Debt You Don’t Owe

Credit reports are supposed to be accurate, but it isn’t uncommon to find errors. Learn how to dispute misreported information.

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Help! I’m Being Sued For An Old Debt

This article will discuss the ways to handle a debt collection lawsuit. You'll learn how to save time and money when defending against a debt collection matter and may even learn how to win the case.

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Can I Remove Student Loans From My Credit Report?

You can have information on your credit report removed or corrected if it’s not accurate. Three main consumer reporting agencies provide credit reports. Also known as credit bureaus, they are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. They have a duty to report your credit history accurately, including student loans and payment histories. While incorrect information can be fixed, you can’t remove information from your credit report that is accurate.

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A Guide to Arizona Debt Collection Law

Do you live in Arizona? Are you behind on your credit card or other consumer debt payments? The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act dictates many of Arizona’s laws in this area. But there are some key differences between the FDCPA and the laws of the state of Arizona. Here we will examine the laws of Arizona pertaining to debt collection, where they differ from the FDCPA, and why this issue should matter to you.

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The Judge in Small Claims Court Was Wrong. Can I Appeal?

Unlike other types of lawsuits, not everyone has a right to appeal a small claims case. This article will explore how small claims appeals differ by state. It is important to understand how your state deals with small claims appeals specifically, as rules vary significantly from state to state.

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What Are My Rights When a Debt Collector Is Threatening To Sue Me?

Being sued by a debt collector can be a scary thing, but you have rights that protect you from harrassment and abusive collection practices. These rights and the rules debt collectors must follow are outlined in the Fair Debt Collection Protections Act. Learn what they mean for you and how to respond to a debt collector that has violated these rules. Also, find out what steps you can take if a debt collector has filed a lawsuit against you.

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Cancellation Of Debt & Related Pitfalls

If you have debts that you are unable to pay, bankruptcy is not your only option. You might be able to negotiate with your creditors to have some of your debt canceled. Learn what debt cancellation is, how it works, and forms of debt cancellation have to be declared as taxable income and which. Also find out which method of debt cancellation might work best for your situation.

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4 Things You Should Know About The Statute Of Limitations

This article will explain four things that you should know about the statute of limitations, a state law that limits the time a debt collector has to bring a lawsuit. Once the time limit has passed, you'll be able to defeat a debt collection lawsuit and avoid a judgment.

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How Debt Relief Works

If you're struggling to keep up with the minimum payments or paying everything you can and not making a dent in the balances that you owe, there are several debt relief options available to help you eliminate your debt and move forward with your life. Read this article to learn the different types of debt relief available and how they work, the benefits and risks associated with each option, and which debt relief solution(s), if any, may be a good fit for your situation.

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Know Your Rights Under Massachusetts Debt Collection Laws

Debt collection isn’t without limits. Federal laws and state laws protect consumers from abusive debt collection practices. Massachusetts debt collection laws offer significant protections to Massachusetts residents from the deceptive acts of debt collectors. This article outlines the rights of Massachusetts residents who are dealing with debt collectors.

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What to Do if You’re Contacted About a Time-Barred Debt

A time-barred debt is one where the creditor has missed the deadline to legally bring a claim against you in court. Unfortunately, debt collectors may still try to contact you about old debts that are time-barred by the statute of limitations. But there are ways to deal with these debt collectors. Read this article to learn more about how to tell if your debt is covered by a statute of limitations and what to do if you’re contacted by a creditor that is trying to collect a time-barred debt.

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How Maryland’s Debt Collection Laws Protect You

Debt collectors are allowed to collect, but they can’t do whatever they want to get you to pay. The federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act protects you against unfair harassment from debt collectors. Maryland state law provides you with even more safeguards. Maryland regulates the conduct of anyone who is seeking to collect a debt, not just those who are in the business of debt collecting. Read more to learn how the Maryland Consumer Debt Collection Act can protect you from the abusive behaviors of debt collectors.

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I’m getting collection calls on Sunday. What are my rights?

Federal law protects you against harassment and unfair treatment by debt collectors. While they can call on Sundays, they can’t call outside normal hours or at inconvenient times. Read more to learn how you can take back your Sundays by learning about consumer protection laws and how collection agencies work.

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Laws Protecting Californians From Debt Collectors

Debt collection laws come from federal and state governments. California has chosen to put extra laws into place to protect California residents. The Rosenthal Act is one such law. There is also a federal law, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, that protects consumers across the United States. Keep reading to learn more about California debt collection laws and how they protect you.

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How to Sue Debt Collectors Who Break the Law

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act prohibits harassment, abuse, and other behavior intended to bully debtors. If a debt collector is violating the FDCPA in their attempts to collect money from you, you have the right to sue them. In this article, we explain how to sue an abusive debt collector, what an FDCPA lawsuit can and cannot help you with, and what other options you have to stop communication from collectors.

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Using Debt Validation and Debt Verification Letters

Despite the similar-sounding names, these are two different types of letters. It’s easy to get them confused, so you need to make sure you’re using the terms properly to take full advantage of your legal rights.

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I Live in Washington State and Debt Collectors Are Calling

Washington state has two laws that protect you, the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) and the Collection Agency Act (CAA). The FDCPA is the minimum standard for states, but Washington’s laws increase the standards. It’s like having a low federal minimum wage and a higher state minimum wage. In this article, we’ll help you learn how Washington’s debt collection protection laws can help you stop debt collectors from calling.

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Illinois Debt Collection Laws

The land of Lincoln and home of the Chicago-style deep-dish pizza, the Obamas, and…unsavory and unscrupulous debt collectors? Yes, unfortunately for residents of the Prairie State, Illinois also happens to have a lot of debt collectors that have flourished due to favorable state laws. A debt collection agency in Illinois can sometimes be as cold as a Chicago winter.

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Debt Collector Calling Family Members? Know Your Rights.

Debt collection agencies can contact family members or your place of work, but they have to be careful about what they ask about. They’re really only supposed to call third parties if they can’t reach you or don’t have your contact information. Knowing your rights is helpful and can make things less stressful for you and your family. This article will cover what rights you have when it comes to debt collectors calling you, your family members, and other third parties.

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Debt Settlement Attorneys: How Can They Help?

One way you can get debt relief is through debt settlement. A good debt settlement attorney can help you settle your debts. They should also be able to provide advice on other debt-relief options like debt consolidation, debt management, and bankruptcy. A debt settlement lawyer may be able to help you get a better overall settlement deal. Perhaps most importantly, they can help you avoid the stress of communicating with aggressive debt collectors. This article will explain debt settlement and the benefits of hiring a debt settlement attorney.

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Does Colorado Law Protect Me From Debt Collectors?

Collection agencies are required to follow federal and state laws when trying to collect a debt from you. Fortunately, all states are under the protection of the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The FDCPA is a debt collection law that protects you from intrusive and predatory collection agency practices such as calling you late at night, cursing at you, and trying to collect a debt you don’t owe. Some states, including Colorado, also have laws that provide additional protections for consumers from debt collectors. Here we’ll discuss the consumer protections available to Colorado residents under the Colorado Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (CFDCPA).

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The Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act (HOEPA)

Dealing with your mortgage likely always feels high stakes. The last thing you want is to jeopardize your home. Luckily, the Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act (HOEPA) protects Americans against abusive lending practices. This article will summarize these regulations and provide you with a clear understanding of what protections HOEPA offers.

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Understanding a Bank Levy and What You Can Do About It

If a creditor can establish that you have an unpaid debt, they may be able to use a collection action called a bank levy. This allows them to seize the funds you owe directly from your bank account. Most creditors will have to jump through some legal hoops to do this, but some government agencies don’t need to go to court before levying your bank account.

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Free Foreclosure Lawyers: How To Deal With a Foreclosure Without Money

The majority of home mortgage foreclosures happen because homeowners don’t have enough money and stop making their mortgage payments. But many times borrowers have a legitimate defense against foreclosure. Or they’re willing to accept the foreclosure but could use some help in making sure their rights are protected during the foreclosure process. If you can't afford to pay for a foreclosure defense attorney, there are other options you can use to help you through a foreclosure proceeding. You can handle the foreclosure on your own, set up a free consultation with an attorney, contact a free legal aid society, or look for a pro bono lawyer.

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Can a Creditor Levy Your Bank Account More Than Once?

A bank levy is a legal move that allows creditors to collect a debt by taking money directly from a borrower’s bank account. Creditors can continue to take money from your account until your debt is paid off. Although this process can seem scary, this article will educate you on how to be prepared for a levy and what your rights are.

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Can Social Security Legally Check My Bank Account?

It is a common question – can the government see inside your bank account? The simple answer – no – but there could be a number of reasons why a person applying for social security benefits would have their bank accounts checked. Knowing how and why it happens, as well as some of the things that might affect your eligibility for Supplemental Security Income, will tell you whether these checks are nothing to worry about or something to be concerned about.

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What Debt Collectors Can, and Can’t, Do To Collect a Debt

The debt collection process can be confusing. You probably have many questions about what a debt collector can and can’t do. Luckily, there are debt collection laws designed to protect you from deceptive practices and misleading representations. This article will outline what debt collectors can and can’t do and teach you how to protect your rights.

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Upsolve is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that started in 2016. Our mission is to help low-income families who cannot afford lawyers file bankruptcy for free, using an online web app. Spun out of Harvard Law School, our team includes lawyers, engineers, and judges. We have world-class funders that include the U.S. government, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, and leading foundations. It's one of the greatest civil rights injustices of our time that low-income families can’t access their basic rights when they can’t afford to pay for help. Combining direct services and advocacy, we’re fighting this injustice.

To learn more, read why we started Upsolve in 2016, our reviews from past users, and our press coverage from places like the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.

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