Back in 2011, the Arizona statute of limitations for credit card debt collection doubled. So, debt collectors can sue consumers for up to six years after an account is delinquent. This gives collection agencies a long time to threaten and harass you before taking you to court.
Fortunately, a law was created to protect consumers against harassing debt collectors. In Arizona, there are state and federal regulations that control debt collection practices. But pump the brakes on excitement for being doubly protected in the Grand Canyon State. The Arizona Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (AFDCPA) sounds impressive, but it’s actually pretty useless.
Why the Arizona Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Falls Short
Okay, maybe “useless” is a little harsh. However, it’s clear how little the protection offered by the AFDCPA is. It is a lengthy and confusing document. Here are the most important takeaways for Arizona residents who are dealing with harassing debt collectors:
- There are a lot of rules about debt collection practices, but AZ lawyers who act as debt collectors are exempt from many of them.
- A consumer can’t sue a debt collector under the AFDCPA. The State of Arizona can sue a harassing debt collector who violates the AFDCPA, but even if THEY win, YOU get nothing.
- Even if a collector is prosecuted under the AFDCPA, they’ll only face a misdemeanor charge, which usually amounts to a mildly annoying slap on the wrist.
Luckily, though, Arizonians are also covered by the federally mandated Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Like the AFDCPA, the FDCPA provides rules on how debt collectors are expected to conduct their business.
How the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act can Save the Day
According to the FDCPA, debt collectors may not use threatening language with you. They’re not permitted to call at all hours of the night, and they may not call repeatedly with the intent to annoy.
Also, collectors are not allowed to do anything to embarrass you, and it is against the law for them to ask for more money than you actually owe. In addition, collection agencies are required to stop calling if you request them to do so in writing. And, going back to that statute of limitations law, if you know that a debt has expired, you most definitely have a right to put an end to collection attempts.
Finally, the FDCPA allows consumers to sue collection agencies. First and foremost, this will allow you to make them stop contacting you, once and for all. And, secondly, you may be entitled to a settlement of $1,000 or more plus , reasonable attorney fees.
So, if you live in Arizona with a debt collector harassing you, your best bet is to seek recourse under the federal law. You should also get a lawyer to defend your case.
At Credit Repair Lawyers of America, we have been representing consumers since 2008, and have a long list of happy clients. You can be the next to “sue, settle, and smile” by setting up your free consultation today. Call Attorney Gary Nitzkin at 480-771-6001 or email him at [email protected]