Any time a person owes someone a financial obligation, he/she is said to be in debt. Usually, citizens of Kansas are in debt because they owe money on their mortgage, their credit card, their car, or some other major transaction. If the debt remains unpaid (or underpaid) for a substantial period, most creditors will send the debtor's record to a collection agency. For many years, collection agencies were notorious for harassing, even threatening, debtors. Nevertheless, in 1977, the U.S. Congress passed the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) to protect debtors from being harassed.
Kansas does not have any laws or statutes to supplement FDCPA. However, the state attorney general does have a Consumer Protection Division office that helps consumers with these and other related issues.
Every state has specific laws regarding the collection of old or expired debts. These laws or statutes, known as statutes of limitations, cover the applicable timeline that a debt collection company has a legally enforceable right to collect on a given debt obligation through garnishments, liens, or asset seizure. In the state of Kansas, the applicable statutes of limitations regarding debt collection, include:
By law, a debt collection agency may only call the debtor between 8:00am-9:00pm. They may contact them by phone, fax, email, or mail. Following this, they must send a letter to the debtor within five days confirming the contents of the call; i.e., the name of the agent, the amount owed, and the creditor(s). There are numerous other laws governing the legal and illegal practices that debt collection agencies may or may not utilize during the process of attempting to collect on an outstanding debt.
If you receive a phone call, email, letter, or fax from a debt collection agency claiming you owe money, be certain that they follow certain guidelines:
If any of these regulations, as well as several others, are violated, claims of debt harassment may be applicable. Consumers in the state of Kansas that believe they have been victimized by debt harassment have a legal right to file claims with the Attorney General of Kansas.
While debt collection laws are clear regarding the illegal and legal practices available to debt collection companies, the settlement and negotiation phase of debt settlement is much less regulated. Commonly, a consumer wishing to settle an outstanding debt should consult with an attorney to handle all arrangements regarding the debt settlement agreement, which will include:
Debt settlement and collection laws are complex. The legality of many debt collection agencies or debt buyers may even come under scrutiny in some cases. Having an attorney look into debt collectors making collection attempts is important. An attorney can verify the veracity of their claims, as well as determine the appropriate legal strategy for resolving outstanding debts. In many cases, debts are bought and resold several times at significantly reduced rates, which opens the door for consumers to resolve outstanding debts at highly discounted rates. Having an attorney negotiate these settlements, as well as ensuring that the agreed upon settlement and credit reporting actions are legally enforceable, is important.