Ready to say goodbye to student loan debt for good? Learn More
X

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.

Filter by content also tagged as:

How the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Protects You

Written by Attorney Alexander Hernandez
Updated October 10, 2023

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a federal law that protects consumers from third-party debt collectors and collection agencies. The FDCPA's main purpose is to protect consumers from abusive and deceptive practices used by debt collectors. The federal law sets limits when and how collectors can contact you, prohibits harassment and false representations, and gives consumers the right to dispute debts. If debt collectors violate of the FDCPA, you can take legal action or report them to various federal agencies.

Read More →

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

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated August 9, 2023

If you’re being contacted by debt collectors for a debt you simply can’t repay, it’s important to know your rights to protect yourself from harassment and validate the debt. Once you know the debt is valid, look into your debt relief options. Getting a free consultation with a nonprofit credit counselor can help you understand your options and make a plan to deal with your debt.

Read More →

What Is Debt and How Should I Handle It?

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated April 18, 2024

Debt is a result of borrowing money that has to be paid back over a period of time. Lending institutions, like banks, will lend you money so you can make a purchase. In turn they expect you to pay them back, with interest. Debt can be classified in two broad categories: corporate debt and personal debt, which is also called consumer debt. Corporate debt involves loans between businesses and, generally speaking, has little to no impact on personal debt. This article will explain the most common types of consumer (personal) debt and how to handle it.

Read More →

Car Repossession 101

Written by Amy CarstLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated April 5, 2024

This article will answer some common questions about vehicle repossession, including why it happens, what the steps are in this process, and how you can get your car back, after it’s been repossessed.

Read More →

Should I File For Bankruptcy or Try Debt Relief?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated April 30, 2024

When a person can't pay their debts, creditors can become extremely demanding in their attempts to collect debts. In some cases, debt collectors may harass individuals to repay their debts. But if you don't have any money left over each month to pay your bills, you can't won't be able to pay the debt regardless of what a debt collector tells you.

Read More →

How to Stop Debt Collection Companies?

Written by Kristin Turner, Harvard Law Grad
Updated August 9, 2023

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

Read More →

Your Guide To Rebuilding Credit After Bankruptcy

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated April 18, 2024

A bankruptcy does not destroy your credit forever. Instead, following some simple tricks and taking advantage of the various credit repair tools can help you build a stronger credit report and higher credit score after filing for bankruptcy.

Read More →

What is a Consumer Protection Attorney?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated October 24, 2021

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

Read More →

What is a Debt Collection Attorney?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated April 20, 2023

A debt collection attorney is a type of attorney who specializes in debt collection. They can represent either creditors or borrowers, so it is smart to find a debt collection attorney who specializes in a practice area specific to your type of case. While a debt collection attorney cannot make your debt disappear, they can help you navigate the debt collection process and protect your legal rights. Keep in mind, though, that hiring a lawyer will be an additional cost to you.

Read More →

Debt Consolidation – 5 Things You Should Know

Written by Jonathan PettsLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated April 19, 2024

Debt consolidation does not erase debt, but it can be helpful in reducing your interest rate on debt you owe.

Read More →

Debt Relief Programs and Financial Resources for Veterans

Written by Attorney Jenni Klock Morel
Updated April 19, 2024

There are many debt-relief programs and resources for veterans and active-duty service members alike. Some focus on helping military personnel with homeownership while others focus on managing your finances and debts. It’s especially important for active-duty military members to keep their finances in order. This will help you get or maintain security clearances. This article covers the most common debt relief programs and financial resources for veterans and active-duty service members.

Read More →

What Does It Mean To Be Judgment Proof?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated April 19, 2024

Being judgment proof means that you do not have anything for a creditor to collect if they sue you and win. As you can imagine, this means that they are not likely to sue you. It does not mean that they can't sue you, just that they probably won't be able to collect if they do decide to take you to court.

Read More →

How Do You Answer a Summons for Debt Without an Attorney?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated April 19, 2024

If you receive a summons and complaint from a debt collector or creditor, it means you’re being sued for unpaid debt. It’s important to respond to (or answer) the lawsuit. You do this by filing official paperwork with the court. Be sure to address every point in the complaint, raise any defenses you have, and file the paperwork within the time frame provided. Debt collectors are counting on you not to answer the lawsuit so that they can win by default. Don’t be intimidated! Take control and learn how to file an answer by reading this guide. You do not need an attorney to answer a debt collection lawsuit successfully.

Read More →

What are the alternatives to Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated April 19, 2024

Bankruptcy is not right for everyone or every situation. If you're not sure whether bankruptcy is right for you, knowing what alternatives are available to give you some relief from your debts is a critical part of making the right decision for you and your family. Let's take a look at some of the most common bankruptcy alternatives.

Read More →

What Goes Into a Credit Score?

Written by Kristin Turner, Harvard Law Grad
Updated April 19, 2024

Your credit score is determined by several factors, including payment history, how much of your credit you're using, what types of credit you have, how long your credit history is, and how much new credit you've applied for recently. Your score helps lenders understand how well you manage credit as a borrower. You can proactively work to improve your credit score and build a strong financial future.

Read More →

3 Steps To Take if a Debt Collector Sues You

Written by Attorney Paige Hooper
Updated August 25, 2023

If you haven’t paid a debt, you can be sued by a debt collector. If the debt collector wins the lawsuit and gets a judgment against you, they can take more aggressive collection actions. To avoid this, you’ll need to answer the complaint, prepare a defense, and show up to the hearing prepared. It’s also good to get familiar with debt collection laws so you’ll know if the debt collector has broken them.

Read More →

How To Get Your Credit Report For Free

Written by Attorney Tina Tran
Updated April 19, 2024

Your credit report has a lot of power over your daily life - whether that's when you go to get a new car or are applying for an apartment. In addition to using credit responsibly, keeping an eye on your credit report is one of the most valuable things you can do to make sure your financial house is as stable as possible. There are three ways to request a copy of your free credit report.

Read More →

What Is a Debt Management Plan?

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Paige Hooper
Updated March 29, 2024

A debt management plan allows you to combine your debts and make one monthly payment with a lower interest rate. It's set up by a credit counselor and usually takes 3-5 years to complete. Only certain kinds of debt, such as credit card debt, can be included in a DMP. If you have a lot of debt that's secured by collateral (like a house or car loan), a DMP may not be the best option. But you can look into other debt relief options including filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Read More →

What Is Debt Settlement?

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Paige Hooper
Updated May 8, 2024

Debt settlement is a type of debt relief. If a creditor agrees to a debt settlement, you make a lump-sum payment for less than the total debt you owe and they forgive the rest. This can work well if you have a large sum of cash at hand. But many who've fallen behind on paying their debts don’t. If you try to save up money to settle a debt, you'll hurt your credit in the meantime if you stop making your debt payments.

Read More →

What Is Credit Counseling?

Written by Attorney Tina Tran
Updated April 19, 2024

Credit counseling is not a debt relief solution in itself. Instead, it’s a starting point for people who are looking for the right solution.

Read More →

What Is Debt Consolidation?

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Paige Hooper
Updated April 19, 2024

Debt consolidation is when you combine multiple debts into one. The goal of consolidating your debt is to reduce your monthly payment and get a lower interest rate. It also simplifies your debt repayment, so you're less likely to miss payments each month. Debt consolidation loans and credit card balance transfers are two common types of debt consolidation.

Read More →

How To Protect Yourself From Debt Collector Harassment

Written by Attorney Alexander Hernandez
Updated July 13, 2023

If your credit card or other debt has been sold to a debt collection agency, they may be harassing you with endless, at times even threatening, communication. Debt collectors may contact you through phone calls, text messages, social media, and more. Knowing your rights and taking steps to protect yourself — like asking the debt collector to validate the debt and taking detailed notes of your interactions — is your best defense against aggressive debt collectors.

Read More →

Do I Still Owe After My Car Is Repossessed?

Written by Attorney Amelia Niemi
Updated April 5, 2024

Unfortunately, having your car repossessed isn’t the end of the road on your car loan. Many Americans owe more on their car than it is worth and their loan is “underwater.” Here’s what you need to know about vehicle repossession and how Chapter 7 bankruptcy can offer some debt relief.

Read More →

What happens if your debt goes to a collections company?

Written by Attorney Amelia Niemi
Updated April 19, 2024

Most of us have a pile of “to-dos” that never seem to be done. For many people, this includes a stack of bills and debts that just keep getting higher. As much as you’d love to pay off that medical debt, there’s never quite enough to go around on payday. Having this debt hang over your head can be really stressful. A lot of people sit up at night, worrying about what will happen next to their debt. Read more to find out what debt collectors can – and can’t – do, how they might legally be able to claim that money, and how this might affect your credit history.

Read More →

How To Find Out What Debt Collectors You Owe

Written by Attorney Amelia Niemi
Updated August 18, 2023

If it feels like you’re drowning in a sea of debt, it can seem impossible to find a life raft, especially if the debt collectors have already started circling. Getting a handle on who you owe and how much money you owe them is an important first step in sorting out your personal finances. This article will give you some tips and tools you can use to climb aboard that life raft, grab a paddle, and start sorting out your financial life.

Read More →

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

Written by Lawyer John Coble
Updated March 22, 2021

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.

Read More →

How To Stop Collection Calls: A Comprehensive Guide

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated August 9, 2023

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.

Read More →

Can a Credit Card Company Sue Me if I Stop Paying?

Written by Attorney Tina TranLegally reviewed by Attorney Paige Hooper
Updated April 19, 2024

Yes, a credit card company can sue you if you stop paying your bills. Typically, credit card companies will contact you several times before escalating the matter to legal action or charging off the debt to a debt collection agency. Though there’s no set timeline, you can expect legal action after six months of nonpayment. While there are no guarantees, you’re less likely to be sued if you owe less than $2,000.

Read More →

Will I Go to Jail for Not Paying My Debts?

Written by Attorney Kassandra Kuehl
Updated August 10, 2023

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.

Read More →

Can I Fix Negative Information on My Credit Report?

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated April 19, 2024

This article will explain how to get your credit report and what types of information — positive and negative — will appear on your report. We'll also talk about how to fix your credit report when misinformation appears on your credit history.

Read More →

Can a Debt Collector Take Me to Court?

Written by Attorney Karra KingstonLegally reviewed by Attorney Paige Hooper
Updated April 19, 2024

Yes, debt collectors can take you to court for unpaid debt. But this won’t be their first move. Debt collection agencies will first call you and send notices in the mail to try to collect on unpaid debt. It’s common for debt collectors to make several attempts over a period of many months to collect a debt before they decide to sue you.

Read More →

What Will Happen If I Don’t Pay an Unsecured Loan?

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated April 19, 2024

Unsecured debt includes credit card debt, student loans, personal loans, cash advances, medical debt, retail store accounts, and money borrowed from family or friends. This article will discuss unsecured debts, what happens if you default on these types of debts, and what options you have for dealing with them after defaulting.

Read More →

Credit Report Fraud

Written by Attorney Alexander Hernandez
Updated August 5, 2020

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.

Read More →

Can You Remove Collection Accounts From Your Credit Report?

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated August 30, 2023

If you have a debt sent to collections, it will be recorded on your credit report and hurt your credit score. Sometimes collections accounts are incorrectly reported or reported on old debt. If there are errors regarding collections accounts on your credit report, you have the legal right to dispute them and have them removed. This shouldn't cost you anything. You can also write a goodwill letter to ask the creditor or collection agency to remove the collections account from your report. This isn’t guaranteed to work, but it won’t hurt to ask. If the information about the collections account is correct and current, you can’t have it removed from your credit report. Be aware that so-called credit repair companies that offer to clean up your credit report for a fee may be a scam.

Read More →

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

Written by Your Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Paige Hooper
Updated August 18, 2023

If you don’t make your credit card payments, the credit card company or collection agency will try to collect on the debt, but they can also bring a credit card lawsuit. If you get sued for credit card debt, it’s important to answer (reply to) the lawsuit. You should also ask the collection agency to verify the debt to ensure that you actually owe it and that they have the correct details about the debt amount. When you file your answer, you’ll include your defenses about why the debt collector shouldn’t win the case.

Read More →

How To Dispute a Debt You Don’t Owe

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Paige Hooper
Updated October 10, 2023

If you’re contacted about a debt you don’t owe, you’ll want to dispute it with the creditor or debt collector. Often these consumer debts are also incorrectly reported to the three major credit bureaus, so you’ll want to check your credit report, too. You can also send a dispute letter to the credit bureaus asking them to remove incorrect information. Here are the four basic steps to dispute a debt you don’t owe: 1. Ensure the debt collector has validated the debt. 2. Send a dispute letter (or the tear-off portion of the debt validation letter, which allows you to easily start the dispute process). 3. Check your credit report and send a credit dispute letter or notices of dispute to any reporting agency with inaccurate information. 4. Follow up if/as needed until the matter is resolved.

Read More →

How a Lawyer Can Help You With Car Repossession

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated April 5, 2024

Having your car taken back by a lender is understandably a terrible experience, and you might be wondering what your options are. Although there are steps you can take on your own, a lawyer knowledgeable about car repossession can help. Most importantly, they can explain the car repossession process and provide you with options specific to your situation. This article will explain how a lawyer can help you, what things lawyers cannot do in the event of a car repossession, and how to find a lawyer.

Read More →

What Repossession Fees Mean For You

Written by Attorney Serena Siew
Updated April 5, 2024

Repossession fees are what creditors pay to repossess your car. Towing, storage, and auction fees are common examples. If you’re delinquent on your car loan and your car is repossessed, those fees are passed on to you. Keep reading to find out more about repossession and what repossession fees mean for you.

Read More →

California Repossession Law

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated April 5, 2024

California law permits cars to be repossessed after one late or missed loan payment. Cars may be repossessed after missed insurance payments as well. There is no legally required grace period, and the repossession company doesn’t have to give you notice that they are repossessing your car.

Read More →

Help! I’m Being Sued For An Old Debt

Written by Lawyer John Coble
Updated June 5, 2021

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.

Read More →

Can You Remove Student Loans From Your Credit Report?

Written by Attorney Jenni Klock Morel
Updated April 7, 2023

If the information about your student loan on your credit report is accurate, you can’t have that information removed. It will eventually drop off your credit report, and as it ages, it will impact your credit less and less. It can take 7–10 years for student loans to be erased from your credit report. Defaulted student loans take seven years to be removed from your credit report while paid-off student loans may stay on your report for 10 years.

Read More →

Your Guide to Arizona’s Debt Collection Laws

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated December 19, 2023

In Arizona, most debt collectors must follow regulations set out in state and federal law. These laws were designed to increase transparency and fairness in the debt collection process. Arizona state law mirrors the many protections set out in the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which prohibits third-party debt collectors from harassing or deceiving you. If debt collectors violate the law, you can report them and sometimes even sue them for damages. The statute of limitations for credit card debt in Arizona is three years. It’s six years for medical debt.

Read More →

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

Written by Natasha Wiebusch, J.D.
Updated November 2, 2021

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.

Read More →

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

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated September 17, 2021

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.

Read More →

Cancellation Of Debt & Related Pitfalls

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated May 15, 2023

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.

Read More →

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Debt?

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Paige Hooper
Updated August 17, 2023

Statutes of limitations are state laws that limit the time a debt collector has to bring a lawsuit. After the statute of limitations has passed, debt collectors can still sue you, but the statute of limitations is a strong defense in a debt collection lawsuit. The length of these laws can vary tremendously by state and by the type of contract you made for the debt (oral, written, etc.).

Read More →

How Debt Relief Works

Written by Attorney Paige Hooper
Updated July 28, 2023

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.

Read More →

How Does The Repo Man Find Your Car?

Written by Attorney Thomas J. Pearson
Updated April 5, 2024

Vehicle repossession occurs when a lender takes a car back from a borrower when the borrower falls behind on loan payments. If you are concerned that your car may be targeted for repossession, there are things you can do to lower your risk of missing payments. Read more to learn what a repo man can and can't do, what happens after repossession, and what steps you can take to avoid repossession in the first place.

Read More →

How To Pay Off Collections: A Complete Guide

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated April 19, 2024

Here's how to pay off a debt in collections: Step 1: Know Your Rights Step 2: Respond to the Debt Collector or Collection Agency Step 3: Verify the Debt Step 4: Check the Statute of Limitations in Your State Step 5: Review Your Budget & Make a Payment Strategy Step 6: Get Your Agreement in Writing Step 7: Check Your Credit Report If you're struggling to repay several debts, it may be time to look into Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Filing Chapter 7 stops all collections activities (thanks to the automatic stay) and can erase most types of consumer debt.

Read More →

When Debt Collectors Break The Law: FDCPA Violations

Written by Natasha Wiebusch, J.D.Legally reviewed by Attorney Paige Hooper
Updated April 12, 2024

The FDCPA is a federal law that protects debtors by preventing third-party debt collectors from engaging in harassment or unfair activities while trying to collect money. Here’s a list of the six most common violations of the FDCPA: - Attempting to collect debts you don’t owe - Sending written notifications with insufficient information about the debt - Taking or threatening to take legal action or other negative actions - Making false statements or misrepresenting themselves or the debt - Engaging in harassment (usually with repeated calls) or using abusive language - Threatening to contact a third party about your debt (such as a friend, family member, or employer) or to otherwise improperly share information about your debt publicly

Read More →

Debt Relief: What Are the Options & How Do They Work?

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated April 18, 2024

Being in debt is stressful, but did you know you have several options to address your debt and find financial security? The most common debt relief options are: 1. Debt management plans (DMPs), which are facilitated by nonprofit credit counselors for a small fee 2. Debt consolidation, which includes DMPs but can also be done by taking out a personal loan or doing a credit card balance transfer to a credit card offering 0% APR for a period of time 3. Debt settlement, which is where you negotiate a discount on your debt in collections 4. Bankruptcy, which is where you file paperwork with a court to get a financial fresh start by discharing credit card debt, medical bills, utility bills, personal loans, and payday loans

Read More →

What You Need To Know About Georgia’s Debt Collection Laws

Written by Natasha Wiebusch, J.D.
Updated February 9, 2024

If you’re a consumer in Georgia, the FDCPA is your best line of defense against unfair debt collectors, but it’s not the only law that can help. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about what debt collectors in Georgia can and cannot legally do when trying to collect money.

Read More →

How To Find Out Which Collection Agency You Owe

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated April 19, 2024

If you have a debt that gets sent to collections, you may be confused about who you owe. To find out which collection agency you owe, you can contact the original creditor or check your credit report. If a collection agency has been in contact with you, ask them to verify the debt. Compare this information with the information on your credit report and your personal financial records so you don’t pay more than you owe or get scammed.

Read More →

Know Your Rights Under Massachusetts Debt Collection Laws

Written by Attorney Kimberly Berson
Updated July 30, 2021

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.

Read More →

What Is a Time-Barred Debt?

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated August 30, 2023

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.

Read More →

How Maryland’s Debt Collection Laws Protect You

Written by Attorney Kimberly Berson
Updated August 3, 2021

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.

Read More →

I’m Getting Collection Calls on Sunday. What Are My Rights?

Written by Attorney Eric Hansen
Updated September 18, 2023

Unless and until you tell them otherwise, debt collectors can call you from 8 am to 9 pm local time on any day of the week, including Sunday. The good news is that federal law protects you against harassment and unfair treatment by debt collectors. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) empowers you to instruct a debt collector not to contact you on Sundays if you consider this an inconvenient time. If a debt collector doesn't honor your request, you can report them to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for violating the law.

Read More →

California Debt Collection Laws

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated November 8, 2023

California has two important laws — the Rosenthal Act and the Debt Collection Licensing Act — that protect California residents against original creditor and third-party debt collector harassment and abuse. Californians also benefit from the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which offers many protections and gives you certain rights. The statute of limitations for most consumer debt is four years in California.

Read More →

How To Sue Debt Collectors Who Break the Law

Written by Natasha Wiebusch, J.D.
Updated July 28, 2023

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) 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.

Read More →

The Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated February 9, 2024

In Florida, you have even more protections from unfair collection practices than you would in other states. The Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (FCCPA) works with the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to help limit phone calls, threatening letters, and other types of unfair actions from collection agencies and other types of debt collectors. It protects Florida consumers and gives them the right to sue debt collectors that have violated the FCCPA. Keep reading to learn more about the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act and your rights under federal and state consumer protection laws.

Read More →

What Is a Debt Validation Letter and How Do You Get One?

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated September 14, 2023

A debt validation letter is a letter that includes basic information about a debt someone is trying to collect from you. If a debt collector is trying to collect an unpaid debt, they’re required by law to send you a debt validation letter before contacting you or within five days of their first contact with you.

Read More →

I Live in Washington State and Debt Collectors Are Calling

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated August 16, 2021

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.

Read More →

Illinois Debt Collection Laws

Written by Attorney Eric Hansen
Updated August 16, 2021

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.

Read More →

Debt Collector Calling Family Members? Know Your Rights.

Written by Attorney Eric Hansen
Updated July 17, 2023

Debt collection agencies can contact family members or your place of work, but they have to be careful about what they ask about. They can't discuss your debt with any third parties. They’re really only supposed to call third parties if they can’t reach you or don’t have your contact information. These rights are spelled out under the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which also protects you from debt collector harassment.

Read More →

Help Yourself: Self-Reporting to the Credit Bureaus

Written by Attorney Paige Hooper
Updated April 18, 2024

In many cases, self-reporting your account information and payment activity to the major credit bureaus is a smart way to bulk up your credit report and improve your credit score. Self-reporting payments, such as rent and utilities, benefits your credit by adding on-time payments that wouldn’t ordinarily appear on your credit report. In this article, you’ll learn what self-reporting is, how it works, what you can report, and how to decide whether self-reporting is a good option for you.

Read More →

Debt Settlement Attorneys: How Can They Help?

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated December 20, 2023

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.

Read More →

Does Colorado Law Protect Me From Debt Collectors?

Written by Attorney Tori Bramble
Updated September 13, 2021

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).

Read More →

Ohio Vehicle Repossession Laws

Written by Mark P. Cussen, CMFC
Updated April 5, 2024

If you take out a loan to buy a vehicle and you become unable to make the payments, then you run the risk of having your vehicle repossessed. Vehicle repossession laws are largely the same in all states, but some details governing borrowers’ and lenders’ rights differ from one state to another. Here we will examine Ohio’s laws and what you need to know if you live in Ohio and can’t make your payment or have already experienced vehicle repossession.

Read More →

Will a Car Repossession Keep You From Getting a Home Loan?

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated April 5, 2024

Repossession is one type of negative event on a credit report that can affect approval for any type of loan, especially a mortgage. While a repossession won’t directly prevent you from getting a mortgage loan, it won’t make it easy. Because everyone’s credit profile is different, it’s hard to predict the impact of a repo on anyone’s home loan application. This article will explain how a repossession can affect your credit history and how it affects getting approved for a mortgage loan.

Read More →

The Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act (HOEPA)

Written by Attorney Todd Carney
Updated September 29, 2023

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.

Read More →

Understanding a Bank Levy and What You Can Do if Your Account Is Frozen

Written by Attorney William A. McCarthyLegally reviewed by the Upsolve Team
Updated February 2, 2024

If a creditor or debt collector sues you for an unpaid debt and they win, they may be able to get a court order for a bank levy. This allows them to take 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 can levy your bank account without first getting a court order.

Read More →

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

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated December 31, 2021

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.

Read More →

Can a Creditor Levy Your Bank Account More Than Once?

Written by Attorney Todd Carney
Updated July 10, 2023

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.

Read More →

Can Social Security Legally Check My Bank Account?

Written by Attorney Todd Carney
Updated October 30, 2021

It is a common question – can the government see inside your bank account? The simple answer is no, but there are some reasons that your bank account may be checked if you're applying for Social Security benefits. 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.

Read More →

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

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated July 7, 2023

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.

Read More →

Foreclosure Surplus Funds: What They Are & How To Claim Them

Written by Chiara King
Updated October 31, 2021

In some states, your lender can sue you to collect a deficiency if your unpaid balance was more than the foreclosure sale price. But, if the unpaid balance is less than the foreclosure sale price, any surplus funds belong to you – not the lender.

Read More →

The Government Lawsuit Against Ocwen

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated November 15, 2021

Even after the multibillion-dollar settlement, Ocwen has continued to violate the law when servicing mortgage loans. As a result, some borrowers may still have reasons to make claims against Ocwen for unlawful practices related to their mortgage loans, including illegal foreclosures.

Read More →

What Are Mini Miranda Rights?

Written by Attorney Paige Hooper
Updated November 11, 2021

When a debt collector contacts you, they have to identify themselves as a collector and tell you they're trying to collect on a debt. This is sometimes called a "Mini Miranda” requirement. This requirement was created to prevent unfair questioning and practices in the debt collection process. These rights are updated occasionally to address new communication technologies.

Read More →

How Do Deficiency Judgments Work in Florida?

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated April 12, 2022

When the sale price of an asset — like a home or car — is less than the debt owed to a lender, a deficiency balance arises. Florida law allows lenders to pursue deficiency balances from borrowers once a court grants them a deficiency judgment. But sometimes, borrowers are protected from collection efforts.

Read More →

Your Rights After Your Lender Transfers Your Home Loan

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated November 11, 2021

If your lender sells or transfers your home loan, you have the right to be notified. This transfer won't change the terms of your mortgage but if you are unsure of who your new mortgage holder or servicer is, you could suffer negative consequences.

Read More →

Can I Change My Mortgage Loan Servicer?

Written by Attorney Todd Carney
Updated November 29, 2021

Borrowers cannot generally change their mortgage loan servicers unless they refinance. Even then, servicers may change at any time without a borrower's permission. It is important for homeowners to know their rights when it comes to dealing with mortgage servicers.

Read More →

Do You Need a Predatory Lending Attorney?

Written by Attorney Eric Hansen
Updated November 17, 2021

Predatory lenders get borrowers to agree to unfair or abusive loan terms. You can avoid getting into this situation by knowing common predatory practices and learning how to spot them when you’re shopping for a loan. If you or a loved one has been a victim of predatory lending, you can get an attorney to help you understand your options.

Read More →

Can You Be Arrested and Put in Jail if You Don’t Pay Your Debts?

Written by Attorney Todd CarneyLegally reviewed by Attorney Paige Hooper
Updated August 25, 2023

You can’t be arrested or put in jail for not repaying consumer debts like credit cards or medical bills. But you can be sued, which sometimes leads to arrest or jail time. If you’re sued and don’t comply with the court requirements, like showing up for a debt examination, you can be arrested. You can avoid being arrested by complying with any court orders.

Read More →

What Can (and Can’t) Mortgage Servicers Do?

Written by Attorney William A. McCarthy
Updated November 26, 2021

After borrowers get mortgage loans with a lender, the loans are often transferred or sold to a mortgage servicer who manages the loan. Your servicer is often not the bank that loaned you the money. Mortgage servicers have to follow federal rules relating to payment processing, information requests, late payments, and loss mitigation. These rules help protect borrowers from foreclosure. Sometimes servicers make costly mistakes, so it’s good to know what these rules are and how to find and address errors.

Read More →

What To Do if a Debt Collector Is Calling You at Work

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Paige Hooper
Updated September 19, 2023

Debt collectors can call you at work unless and until you tell them to stop calling. Under federal law, debt collectors and creditors are prohibited from contacting borrowers at work once they have reason to know that a borrower's employer doesn't permit these kinds of calls. The law does allow for other collection tactics, so it is important to know your rights concerning debt collection communications.

Read More →

How the Federal Government Can Help After a Natural Disaster

Written by Attorney Todd Carney
Updated December 11, 2021

The federal government provides short-term and long-term help for victims of natural disasters like wildfires, earthquakes, severe storms. Federal disaster relief agencies like FEMA provide food, shelter, water, money, and healthcare for those affected by a natural disaster. The IRS, U.S. Small Business Administration, and U.S. Department of Labor are lesser-known government agencies that help out with various aspects of disaster relief as well.

Read More →

18 Bank Accounts You Can Open Even if You Have Bad Credit

Written by Lawyer John Coble
Updated November 24, 2021

It used to be that if you had bad credit you could only open subpar second-chance checking accounts. They often had high fees and few benefits or good features. Now there are a lot of online banks that offer checking accounts with great features, even if you have bad credit. This article looks at 18 great options.

Read More →

14 Resources Debt Collectors Can Use To Find You

Written by Attorney Eric Hansen
Updated November 30, 2021

In the Digital Age, it isn't usually very hard for debt collectors to track down the whereabouts of borrowers who have fallen behind on their debts. From DMV and utility company records to social media profiles and credit bureau feedback, debt collectors can almost always access information that helps them to contact borrowers whose debt payments are delinquent.

Read More →

Stop Debt Collectors With a Cease and Desist Letter (+ Template)

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Paige Hooper
Updated September 19, 2023

A cease and desist letter is a formal written request that you send a debt collector telling them to stop contacting you about a debt. Once the debt collector receives a cease and desist letter, they must stop further contact save for one final call to tell you what actions they intend to take. While sending a cease and desist letter is a good way to stop debt collectors from harassing you, it doesn’t make your debt disappear. If the debt is valid, the debt collector may choose to take legal action to recover the debt.

Read More →

How New York’s Statutes of Limitations on Debt Protect You

Written by Attorney Tina Tran
Updated August 21, 2023

The statute of limitations on debt in New York state is three years. This is the amount of time that a creditor or debt collector has to sue borrowers to collect debts. After three years pass without activity on the account, a creditor or debt collector may still try to sue you for a debt, but you can use the statute of limitations as a defense in the lawsuit.

Read More →

New York’s Statute of Limitations for Credit Card Debt

Written by Lawyer John Coble
Updated April 10, 2023

If you have credit card debt that you can’t pay, creditors and debt collectors can’t try to collect on it forever. Statute of limitations set a timeline for creditors and other debt collectors to collect on a debt. In New York, a recent law is strengthening the protections you get from the statute of limitations by shortening the timeline and not allowing creditors to restart the statute of limitations if you make a payment.

Read More →

New York Small Claims Court – Overview and Limits

Written by Lawyer John Coble
Updated April 10, 2023

The New York Small Claims Court is a special part of the court system. The legal process in small claims courts is simplified and informal so that anyone can access it without needing to hire a lawyer. Only individuals can use small claims courts in New York, and you can only use the court to sue for money. The amount of the claim you can bring ranges from $3,000 to $10,000, depending on where you live in the state.

Read More →

Judgment Enforcement and Collection in New York State

Written by Lawyer John Coble
Updated April 10, 2023

If a creditor gets a court judgment against you, it can’t enforce it until it’s entered by the court clerk. If you don’t pay the judgment voluntarily, the judgment creditor has several debt collection options at its disposal. In addition to options like wage or bank account garnishment, the creditor could contact an enforcement officer for assistance.

Read More →

A Guide to New York’s New Debt Collection Laws

Written by Lawyer John CobleLegally reviewed by Attorney Paige Hooper
Updated August 28, 2023

New York state's Consumer Credit Fairness Act (CCFA), reduced the statute of limitations for consumer debts from six years to three years. It also added notification requirements for creditors and debt collectors that sue borrowers. Under the CCFA, the statute of limitations can’t be restarted if a borrower makes a payment or acknowledges a debt. Finally, under the CCFA, debt collectors must be able to prove they own the debt when they sue to collect on it.

Read More →

How To Vacate a Default Judgment in New York: An Overview

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated August 23, 2023

If you get sued and you don’t respond to the lawsuit’s complaint and summons, the court can enter a default judgment. But you can have this judgment vacated or removed. To do so, you need to have a reasonable excuse for not appearing in court and a defense to the allegations against you. You also have grounds to vacate if the person suing you didn’t properly serve the required documents. You can speed up the process by using an Order to Show Cause form.

Read More →

New York State Pre- and Post-Judgment Interest Rates

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated April 10, 2023

If a creditor wins a court judgment against you, you’ll have to pay the money judgment amount and any interest the judge orders. This can be pre-judgment interest, which is the interest added to the debt owed. There’s also post-judgment interest, which is the interest added to the amount of the money judgment. On April 30, 2022, the judgment interest accrual rate will drop from 9% to 2% for debt collection cases in New York state.

Read More →

A Guide to New York State Debt Collection Laws & Regulations

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated August 21, 2023

Federal and state laws protect New Yorkers against illegal and unfair debt collection practices. At the state level, the new Consumer Credit Fairness Act strengthens consumer protections in debt collection lawsuits. Under the law, new notice requirements apply for debt collectors that sue borrowers, and the statute of limitations to bring a lawsuit dropped from six years to three years.

Read More →

A Review of the New York Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated July 7, 2023

Everyone who lives in the U.S. is protected from unfair debt collection practices under the Federal Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). States like New York have enacted state laws to address unfair debt collection practices as well. New York’s Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is similar to the FDCPA in the ways it limits when and how debt collectors can communicate with consumers. Unlike the federal law, the state law doesn’t allow consumers to directly sue those who violate the state law. They must file a complaint with the state attorney general who will pursue legal action.

Read More →

How Do You Respond To a Debt Collection Lawsuit in New York?

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated August 21, 2023

If you get sued by a creditor looking to collect a debt, you’ll be notified of the lawsuit with a summons and complaint. In New York, you have 20 or 30 days to respond to (answer) the debt collection lawsuit. The time frame depends on how you were served notice of the lawsuit. In your response (answer) you’ll want to address each issue listed in the complaint and assert your affirmative defenses and counterclaims. Then, file your answer with the court and send the plaintiff a copy. This article walks you through the process and potential defenses.

Read More →

New York State Wage Garnishment Laws: Your Complete Guide

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated August 23, 2023

Most creditors must get a court order to garnish your wages if you live in New York. Two exceptions are garnishments for public debts (like past-due taxes and family debts (like child support). The law limits how much of your weekly earnings a creditor can take through wage garnishment. These limits vary based on the minimum wage where you live and the type of debt you owe. Finally, an employer can’t fire you because you have a wage garnishment order against you.

Read More →

Judgments and Judgment Liens in New York State

Written by Attorney Jenni Klock Morel
Updated April 10, 2023

If you have an unpaid debt, a creditor can sue you to get a judgment against you. This allows them to garnish your wages, levy your bank account, or file a judgment lien against your home or car. Judgments and judgment liens in New York are very powerful. Money judgments can be enforced for up to 20 years in New York.

Read More →

New York State Garnishment Laws

Written by Attorney Paige Hooper
Updated July 25, 2023

Most creditors must get a court order to garnish your wages if you live in New York. Two exceptions are garnishments for public debts — like past-due taxes — and family debts, like child support. The law limits how much of your weekly earnings a creditor can take through wage garnishment. These limits vary based on the minimum wage where you live. Finally, an employer can’t fire you because you have a wage garnishment order against you.

Read More →

What Is a Debt Verification Letter? (+ Template Link)

Written by Your Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Paige Hooper
Updated September 14, 2023

A debt verification letter is correspondence you can send to a debt collector to get more information about a debt or to start the dispute process. If you’re contacted by a debt collector and something doesn’t seem right about the collection agency or the debt itself, you can use a debt verification letter to learn more about the agency and the debt. This can help you dispute debts you don’t actually owe or identify potential debt collection scams.

Read More →

How Do You Cancel (Vacate) a Court Judgment?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated November 11, 2023

If a judge has issued a default judgment against you, you may be able to have it vacated (canceled) by filing a formal request with the court. This request is called a motion. To successfully have a default judgment vacated, you’ll need to have a good reason for not participating in the lawsuit that led to the default judgment. You should also have your defenses for the original lawsuit prepared. If the court approves the motion, it will review the original debt collection case.

Read More →

How To Respond to a Pennsylvania Debt Collection Court Summons

Written by Attorney Tina Tran
Updated January 3, 2024

In Pennsylvania, if a debt collection lawsuit has been filed against you, the first thing you need to do is file a Notice of Intention to Defend. You can do this by either calling your court or going in person. If you disagree with the claims against you, you can explain your defenses in your notice. Then, follow any instructions from the court you receive via court notices or ask the court clerk about next steps.

Read More →

How To Answer an Alabama Debt Collection Court Summons

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated January 10, 2024

Answering a debt lawsuit is easier than you might think! You simply need to fill out an official court answer form, tell the court why you disagree with the lawsuit, and file the paperwork with the court. Then, you have to send a copy of your answer form to the person suing you. Finally, wait to get notice from the court about next steps. If you contest the lawsuit, the court will schedule a hearing date to hear both sides of the story.

Read More →

Your Guide to Alabama’s Debt Collection Laws

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated January 10, 2024

If you live in Alabama, the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is your strongest protection against bad behavior by third-party debt collectors. This law prohibits harassment, deception, and other unfair practices during the debt collection process. The statute of limitations for credit card and medical debt is three years in Alabama.

Read More →

Your Guide to South Carolina’s Debt Collection Laws

Written by Attorney Tina Tran
Updated December 12, 2023

South Carolinians are protected by the state’s Consumer Protection Code, whose rules apply to both original creditors and third-party debt collection agencies. The CPC prohibits debt collectors from harassing you, deceiving you, or engaging in unfair practices when trying to collect on a debt from you. It also gives consumers the right to sue anyone who violates this law for damages or an injunction to stop or reverse the collection activity. The statute of limitations for credit card debt is three years in South Carolina.

Read More →

How To Answer an Oregon Debt Collection Court Summons

Written by Attorney Tina Tran
Updated December 15, 2023

If you’re sued for a debt in Oregon, you’ll receive an official notice from the court. If you’re sued in small claims court, you need to respond to the notice and tell the court if you want a hearing or jury trial. If you’re sued in regular circuit court, you need to respond with an answer form that includes any affirmative defenses you may have. After responding in either situation, you must show up to required court appearances, which could be a hearing, mediation, or arbitration, depending on your case.

Read More →

How To Respond to a Missouri Debt Collection Court Summons

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated January 22, 2024

If you get a summons and petition informing you that you’ve been sued for a debt in Missouri, you need to respond by following the court instructions on the summons form. This often means: 1. Drafting an answer form. 2. Addressing each of the debt collector’s claims against you. 3. Listing your defenses and affirmative defenses. 4. Filing your answer form with the court and serving a copy on the person suing you. You have 30 days to respond to a debt collection lawsuit in Missouri, but if your hearing date is before 30 days from the date on the summons, you might need to respond before your hearing date.

Read More →

Your Guide to Missouri’s Debt Collection Laws

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated December 16, 2023

Missouri residents are best protected against debt collector misconduct by the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The FDCPA protects consumers against debt collector harassment, deception, and other unfair practices. In Missouri, the statute of limitations for open accounts — which often includes credit card debt — is five years. The statute of limitations for debts backed by written contracts is 10 years. This often includes medical bills.

Read More →

Your Guide to Kentucky’s Debt Collection Laws

Written by Attorney Tina Tran
Updated December 16, 2023

If you live in Kentucky, your main line of defense against debt collectors will be the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). This federal law regulates third-party debt collectors and aims to prevent harassment, deception, and other unfair practices in the debt collection process. It also outlines certain things debt collectors are required to do, such as provide you with certain information about your debt.

Read More →

How To Answer an Arizona Debt Collection Court Summons

Written by Attorney Tina Tran
Updated January 10, 2024

Responding to a debt lawsuit in Arizona is easier than most people realize. You respond by filling out a court-provided answer form, filing it with the court, and delivering a copy to the person suing you. The answer form is your opportunity to admit, deny, or say you don’t know about the claims against you. These claims are written out in the complaint form, which you’ll receive with a court summons that tells you you’re being sued and how long you have to respond to the case.

Read More →

How To Answer a Kentucky Debt Collection Court Summons

Written by Attorney Tina Tran
Updated January 10, 2024

If you are sued for debt in Kentucky, the best thing you can do is respond and take action! If you are sued through circuit court or district court (not small claims), you need to file an answer within 20 days of receiving your summons and complaint. If you are sued through the small claims division of the district court, you don’t have to file an answer but you can file a counterclaim. Local rules vary from county to county, so it’s always best to check with your court to verify the best way to proceed with your case.

Read More →

How To Answer an Illinois Debt Collection Court Summons

Written by Attorney Tina Tran
Updated January 3, 2024

If you’re sued in Illinois for debt collection, you must file an appearance if you’re sued for less than $10,000. To complete an appearance form, you will fill out your personal information, select which trial type you prefer (this is only a preference, not a guarantee), fill out the proof of delivery, e-file your forms with your court within 30 days (generally), then deliver a copy of the appearance on the plaintiff. A written answer is not required for debt collection lawsuits in small claims court cases in Illinois, but you can file one if you choose, though fees may apply. Filing an answer may help you prepare your defenses for trial and show the debt collector that you’re serious about asserting your rights. Procedures vary from county to county in Illinois, so it is always best to check with your court to verify what is required of you in a debt collection lawsuit.

Read More →

Your Guide to Washington’s Debt Collection Laws

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated January 3, 2024

Washington has two state debt collection laws: the Washington Collection Agency Act (CAA) and the Washington Consumer Protection Act (CPA). Combined, these two laws provide important protections for state residents against original creditors, third-party debt collectors, and debt buyers. Washington residents get further protection from the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The statute of limitations for credit card debt and medical bills in Washington state is six years.

Read More →

Your Guide to Tennessee Debt Collection Laws

Written by Attorney Tina Tran
Updated March 25, 2024

When it comes to debt collection, Tennesseans are primarily protected by the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). That said, Tennessee’s Consumer Protection Act does provide some consumer protections against misconduct that aren’t specifically outlined in the FDCPA. The Tennessee Consumer Protection Act also requires third-party debt collectors and debt buyers to register with the Tennessee Collection Service Board. The statute of limitations for medical debt and credit card debt is six years in Tennessee.

Read More →

Your Guide to Pennsylvania Debt Collection Laws

Written by Attorney Tina Tran
Updated January 10, 2024

Pennsylvania has two state debt collection laws: the Pennsylvania Fair Credit Extension Uniformity Act (FCEUA) and the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (UTPCPL). Combined, these two laws provide important protections for state residents against both original creditors and third-party debt collectors. Pennsylvanians get further protections from the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) offered to all states. The statute of limitations for all debt contracts (including credit cards and medical bills) in Pennsylvania is four years.

Read More →

How To Answer a Washington Debt Collection Court Summons

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated January 22, 2024

If you’re sued for a debt in the state of Washington, it’s important to respond! And it might be easier than you think. Here are the basic steps: 1. Fill out an answer and appearance form. 2. Complete a certificate of service form. 3. File your forms with the court within 20 days of receiving the summons. 4. Deliver a copy of your answer form to the person suing you.

Read More →

How To Answer a South Carolina Debt Collection Court Summons

Written by Attorney Tina Tran
Updated January 22, 2024

If you’re sued for a debt in South Carolina, the most important thing you can do is respond! Here are the basic steps: 1. Fill out an answer form. 2. Note your defenses. 3. File your forms with the court within 30 days of receiving the summons. 4. Deliver a copy of your answer form to the person suing you.

Read More →

How To Answer an Oklahoma Debt Collection Court Summons

Written by Attorney Tina Tran
Updated January 10, 2024

If you’re sued for a debt in Oklahoma, the most important thing you can do is respond and take action. Your debt collection lawsuit will be heard in either a small claims court or district court. If your case is in district court, you need to fill out and file a written answer within 20 days of receiving your summons and complaint. If your case is in small claims court, you may not be able to file an answer form (depending on the court), but you must show up to your hearing with your prepared response and defenses.

Read More →

Your Guide to Oklahoma’s Debt Collection Laws

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated March 25, 2024

If you live in Oklahoma, your best line of protection against unfair debt collectors is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). This is a federal consumer protection law. Oklahoma hasn’t passed any state-specific debt collection laws to protect its residents. The statute of limitations for written debt contracts — including medical debt and credit card debt — is four years in Oklahoma.

Read More →

How To Deal With DCM Services

Written by the Upsolve Team
Updated March 7, 2024

DCM Services is a third-party debt collection agency that focuses on estate debt. They go after unpaid bills of people who have died by contacting their relatives. If DCM Services is contacting you, refrain from giving them any information until they validate the debt. Initially, they may be reaching out to identify the personal representative of the estate. Since DCM Services purchases debts from original creditors and lenders, they often have incorrect or incomplete information. If you think you rightfully owe DCM Services and are unable to pay, you should consider hiring a lawyer. This form of debt collection, especially with medical bills of the deceased, is a legally gray area, so it’s advisable to get professional help.

Read More →

How To Deal With CCS Offices

Written by the Upsolve Team
Updated February 8, 2024

CCS Offices is a debt collector that focuses on consumer debts, including unpaid healthcare invoices and credit card bills. If CCS Offices contacts you, don’t panic. Given how the debt collection business works, there could be a mistake or error. The first thing you should do is have CCS Offices validate the debt. If they do, you can decide to dispute the debt, negotiate a debt settlement, or do nothing. Read on to learn more about these options and what they mean for you.

Read More →

How To Deal With Midland Funding LLC

Written by the Upsolve Team
Updated February 8, 2024

Midland Funding LLC is a legitimate debt collection agency that focuses on consumer debts under their parent company, Encore Capital Group — a major debt buyer. If Midland contacts you, you should first validate the alleged debt. Once you verify that the debt belongs to you, you can choose how to deal with Midland. Your main options are disputing the debt (if the information is incorrect or you disagree with the debt amount), or negotiating a settlement so you end up paying a portion of the debt.

Read More →

How To Deal With Harris & Harris

Written by the Upsolve Team
Updated February 8, 2024

Harris & Harris is a legitimate debt collection agency focusing on consumer debts — specifically healthcare, government, and utility debt. If Harris & Harris contacts you, you should first validate the alleged debt. Once you verify that the debt belongs to you, you can choose how to move forward. The main options are to dispute the debt (if the information is incorrect or you disagree with the debt amount) or to negotiate a settlement so you end up paying a portion of the debt.

Read More →

How To Deal With the Debt Collector Unifin

Written by Attorney Tina Tran
Updated February 21, 2024

Unifin, Inc. is a debt collection agency. They collect different kinds of consumer debts such as past-due credit cards, medical bills, and loans. If Unifin is contacting you, make sure the debt is valid before you give them any information or make any payments. Since Unifin buys debts from original creditors and lenders, sometimes their information is wrong. If you do owe Unifin, consider negotiating a settlement to pay less than the full amount. Debt settlement is a common practice and a good way to put the matter to rest and ease your financial stress.

Read More →