Those who fall behind in their financial obligations can expect to hear from their creditors or, eventually, debt collection agencies. In some instances, collection agencies have been abusive, harassing consumers in efforts to force payments. Federal laws have been enacted to protect consumers, particularly through the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Some states mirror those statutes, while others extend coverage further. Since those state laws vary widely, it can be vital to contact an attorney to ensure that every consumer has their rights protected in these vital financial matters.
Federal laws cover debt collection issues in most cases in Alaska. When there are abuses by unfair or unethical debt collection agencies, victims should report them to the state Attorney general's office or a local district attorney.
While federal standards apply in Alaska for debt collection protection in general, the state does require that every debt collections agency be licensed and bonded. Any agency that fails to do so can be charged with a misdemeanor and receive a fine or jail sentence.
Harassment is illegal in any form, much less when debt collectors harass consumers in hopes of forcing payment, according to both federal and state laws. Abuses can be reported to the office of the state Attorney general or through local offices of the district attorney.
Consumers are protected not only from harassment and intimidation from debt collection agencies, they are protected from companies attempting to deceive and defraud them of fees through debt negotiation and settlement schemes. There are legitimate companies who provide services for consolidating debt and negotiating reduced debt payoffs when borrowers are significantly behind in their payments. However, scam artists promise to provide these services for high fees, yet once those fees are paid, they walk away, leaving the consumer in worse financial shape than ever.
In many cases debt settlement attorneys can help catch and stop these schemes and recover some or all of the stolen monies. In addition, these attorneys can often provide a more reliable form of these services to consumers:
Because these legal and financial situations can be so complex and costly, it is important to enlist reliable and experienced advisors rather than having to face multiple expensive failures. A skilled attorney can often bring about the most positive and far-reaching solution feasible under difficult circumstances.