There are a number of regulations covering debt collections both at the federal and state levels in this country. Many of those laws are recently enacted or updated, protecting consumers from unfair or unreasonable collection processes when they have unpaid, past due, or defaulted debts owed to another party, a debt collector, or agency. The primary federal laws include the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Many states have additional laws, which add to or clarify the federal laws, protecting their citizens. However, there are exceptions in many cases, and anyone having difficulty paying debts can benefit from the advice of a debt settlement attorney to help them obtain their rights and clear their financial record.
The Massachusetts Attorney General's office has oversight of the debt collection activities and regulations in the state. Many of the state laws mirror federal laws concerning debt collection; however, there are additional protections for residents of Massachusetts, including the requirement that Debt Collection Agencies must be licensed in the state, with renewals required each year.
There are a number of statutes regarding statutes of limitations in Massachusetts, and many vary depending on the type of debt and the type of creditor. However, in general:
In most cases, Massachusetts follows the federal laws for debt collection practices. However, there are some additions.
It is against both federal and state laws for a creditor to harass a debtor in the state of Massachusetts as long as such contact would be deemed harassment by a reasonable person. Victims of harassment may contact the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General to file complaints.
Every debtor has the right to contact a creditor and attempt to settle their debt at a reduced rate. Indeed, many creditors who have been attempting collection for some time or who are aware that previous owners of the debt have done so would be anxious to settle a debt, even at a reduced rate, rather than have the debtor go into bankruptcy, at which point they may receive nothing at all, or nothing for a very long time.
Debt collection has become big business in today's challenging economy. Many consumers may not even know who holds their debt or how much the current holder paid to own it. As a result, many creditors are more open to settlements at reduced rates in order to clear such debts from their books. An experienced Massachusetts debt settlement attorney can learn the status of any debt and negotiated favorable settlements that will save the debtor money and assure that their credit record will be cleared as soon as is legally and reasonably possible.