There are specific and strict federal laws controlling how debt collection agencies operate throughout this country. They protect consumers from unfair and unethical harassment as well as other abuses in two primary statutes, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act. States have the obligation to enforce these laws through their state attorney general's office and, if applicable, enforce any state laws that have been enacted to extend these protections. Anyone who is facing financial challenges should consider contacting an attorney to help avoid having to face collections agencies over these issues.
The Office of the Attorney General in Arizona oversees debt collection services and agencies in the state, for the most part complying with federal laws in this area. However, Arizona has enacted their own state laws reinforcing those federal statutes. Abuses can be reported to the state Attorney General's office of the local district attorney.
Arizona requires all debt collection agencies to be licensed and bonded by the state, however, they are then able to pursue debt collection procedures within legal limits. Any agencies that do not apply for and receive a license in the state could face misdemeanor charges.
See also: Legal Debt Collection Practices in Arizona
Federal laws relating to debt collection procedures prohibit harassment in any form, when it would be deemed harassment by a reasonable person, as do state laws in Arizona.
Many consumers who find themselves unable to pay all of their bills or keep up to date on others would find it helpful to have an expert negotiate with their creditors for them. Moreover, while there are reputable companies who provide that service, there are others taking advantage of today's poor economy and creating sham companies that only promise these services but don't provide them. If they receive money for these schemes, they can be guilty of fraud, which is illegal in this country.
Consumers should be careful to research such potential representatives or contact their debt settlement attorney to either advise them on any potential contracts they are considering or to provide those services themselves, if they do so. Those who have already been cheated out of their hard-earned money should ask an attorney to help pursue and file suit against these scam artists.
When money and credit scores are uncertain, it is vital for consumers to be sure they are enlisting skilled experts who can guide them to the best possible plan for satisfying their creditors, restoring their finances, and reclaiming their all-important credit rating.