Paying off a debts (or debts) is one of the most stressful things a person has to do. It is compounded all the more when the creditor (the person to whom the debt is owed) turns over the debtor's (the person who owes the debt) account information to a debt collection agency. However, the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) gives debtors certain protections they would not otherwise have. Since Kentucky does not have its own version of FDCPA, it abides by the federal statute.
In the state of Kentucky, there are no specific state laws regarding debt collection practices. However, numerous federal protections afforded at the federal level are in place to assist consumers. These laws, most notably the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, outline the bulk of laws related to state debt collection practices in all fifty states, as well, but the state of Kentucky specifically, does not possess its own state level codes regarding these measures.
The state of Kentucky has no specific laws regarding debt collection practices established at the state level, however, the state does fall under the jurisdiction of federal laws and statutes related to debt collection fair practices.
Harassment by debt collectors is pursued as a federal offense in the state of Kentucky. Debt collection companies engaged in harassment or other prohibited collections actions may suffer serious consequences if a consumer pursues a valid claim in courts. Outcomes of valid harassment claims against debt collectors by consumers include mandatory dismissal of debt obligations owed by consumer, damage awards to consumers, and if applicable, fines and penalties placed upon debt collection companies in accordance with federal laws.
Once initial contact has been made, you may dispute the charges. You must do so in writing, by sending the agency a certified letter from the Post Office. The debt collection agency then has 30 days to respond. If/when they do, they must provide documentation that you in fact owe the money specified. It is illegal from them to claim that you owe more money than you actually do owe. On the other hand, if your records show that you are in debt for the amount claimed by the agency, you may wish to negotiate with the debt collection agency on your own. The agent will usually grant your request to make monthly payments. However, once a payment plan is agreed upon, be sure to get it in writing.
Given the intricacies—and the money—involved, it is highly beneficial to consult with a lawyer who specializes in debt and bankruptcy laws. Not only can an attorney provide peace of mind; when you hire one, the debt agency must deal directly with him/her. In other words, they can no longer call and harass you. In addition, they know the details of the law, and so can help you to avoid technicalities that you would not otherwise catch. Furthermore, they can help you to negotiate an effective payment plan that satisfies your creditors, and gets the collections agents to stop harassing you.