Iowa adheres to the standards of FDCPA in its own Iowa Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. However, the state also has strict guidelines that regulate how debt collectors go about their business. Under the authority of the state attorney general, Iowa does not license debt collectors. However, debt collectors within the state of Iowa who have collected $25,000 in any given year are required to register with the attorney general's office, and to pay an annual $10.00 fee. Furthermore, Iowa law defines "consumer debt" quite broadly; for instance, dishonored checks and accounts based on "90 days same as cash" could fall under this definition.
By law, the debt collection agency must send you a letter within five days of their initial contact, confirming the phone call (or other medium of communication) and the amount of the debt. If you dispute the charges, you must send them a letter via certified mail. The agency has 30 days to respond, and they must provide documentation that you do owe the money specified. By federal and state law, they may not charge more than that amount.
Other instances involve debts that are expired, according to the statute of limitations in the state of Iowa. These debts no longer have a legally enforceable claim that can be pursued in the courts against a debtor for wage garnishment or other liens. In effect, credit collection companies have no legal recourse to recoup payment from debtors, if the statutes of limitations has expired. The applicable statutes of limitations in the state of Iowa are:
The state of Iowa follows replicated laws from the federal government concerning debt collection practices and rules. These include consumer protections from harassment, threats, and other forms of intimidation and illegal practices sometimes utilized by debt collection companies. The Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division in Iowa administers complaints regarding debt collection law violations and the regulation of debt collection companies.
Should you be contacted by a debt collector, you may wish to see if they are properly registered with the attorney general's office. Further, state law prohibits the agent from issuing threats, using profanity, or otherwise intimidating you. Should they do so, you should document this, the agent's name, and the agency he/she works for. Further, the agent should not contact you before 8:00 am or after 9:00 pm. There are many other laws regarding debt harassment, which include illegal practices known to be used by credit collection agencies in the state of Iowa. Having an attorney represent claims involving harassment is useful in obtaining a favorable resolution, which will undoubtedly include a stop to the harassment, if not other forms of benefits, such as favorable settlements of debts in lieu of filing claims with the Consumer Protection Bureau.
If you do owe, you may request to be put on a payment plan. Most agencies will comply with this request. However, they must agree to a plan that you are able to pay off in a reasonable amount of time. The entire process of debt settlement and negotiation should be overseen by an attorney that specializes in debt settlement cases. In most instances, an attorney can utilize several forms of legal leverage in obtaining favorable settlement terms. Some of the most important aspects of debt settlement that an attorney can look into include:
Getting a phone call from a debt collection agency is stressful. There is also great potential for fraud. With these things in mind, a lawyer who specializes in debt collection can be quite beneficial. There are many in Iowa, who can help you by putting together a feasible payment plan, and keeping harassing creditors away from you—by law, once your attorney notifies the agency that you now have legal representation, they may no longer contact you directly. For these reasons, hiring an attorney can help you to get out from under debt, and provide peace of mind.