Montana Debt Collection Laws

Dinnertime collection agency calls are an offense that too many people are living with today. The sad truth is, they believe they have no choice, but federal laws provide protections for consumers who are in financial trouble, allowing them to avoid harassing and inconvenient reminders that they have unpaid bills and demanding creditors. The two most prominent statutes are the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Both help consumers maintain their sanity and possibly their credit rating in the midst of economic crises. Yet there are steps consumers can take to avoid such problems in the first place, often with the help of a debt settlement lawyer who is experienced in this field.

Montana Debt Collection Laws

Many states have additional laws adding strength and even greater protections for the consumer. Montana relies primarily on federal debt collection laws, along with state statutes providing general forms of consumer protection. If debt collectors are still abusing their rights, they can contact the Montana state Attorney General’s office, the Federal Trade Commission, or a debt settlement attorney for help.

Montana Statute of Limitations

Once a debt obligation is established, debtors and their creditors have a set length of time to take legally enforceable actions to collect on this debt, before their right to lien expires. This period of time where a creditor or collection company has a right to lien ends following the lapse of a set period known as the statute of limitations. Certain debts in the state of Montana contain differing statutes of limitation, which may include:

  • Court awards and other judgments contain statute of limitations periods of no more than ten (10) years, while judgments formed outside of courts last only six (6) years
  • Oral agreements and open accounts have a statute of limitations of five (5) years
  • Written contracts and promissory notes have a statute of limitations of eight (8) years
  • Liability or other formal debt obligations not formed via written contract possess statute of limitations period of no more than three (3) years

Collections Practices and Rules for Montana

While there are no state laws adding to the federal debt collection protections, Montana enforces proper debt collection practices and prosecutes abuses through the state Attorney General’s office.

Legal Collections Actions

It is legal in Montana for creditors to continue to pursue the debts owed to them, and in fact, debt collectors and debt collection agencies have the right to contact consumers by normal means, such as phone, fax, email, mail, and telegram. However, there are a number of restrictions in the federal laws on what debt collectors and debt collection agencies can do in the state.

Illegal Collections Actions

These actions are prohibited in Montana by federal law, and local authorities pursue violators when their actions are reported:

  • Contacting consumers concerning debt collections when they have requested such contact to stop, as well as approaching them at work when debt collectors have been notified that their employer prohibits such calls
  • Threatening, intimidating, abusing, using violence or profanity, and otherwise harassing consumers or their friends and family concerning unpaid debts
  • Misrepresenting themselves or impersonating law enforcement officials to intimidate consumers
  • Unfairly or unethically dealing with consumers or their partial or post dated payments, or taking any action that burdens the consumer with additional expenses

Laws for Debt Harassment in Montana

Harassment is against federal law in Montana, and local and state authorities will prosecute offenders.

Montana Debt Negotiation and Settlement Rules

There are federal and local rules against fraud throughout this country; and while there are legitimate companies who help consumers with debt negotiation and settlement, it can be difficult for individuals to separate the genuine services from the scams. A debt settlement attorney can provide helpful advice so that consumers can, if they desire, find representatives to negotiate lower interest rates, delayed payments, or debt consolidation plans. They can also help clients avoid common difficulties:

  • High fees that eat up the money saved for debt repayment
  • Low success rates
  • Inconsistent follow-through, often failing to provide appropriate and timely updates to credit reporting agencies

Help from a Montana Debt Collection Attorney

There is a great deal of money to be made by unscrupulous “financial advisors” who are willing to prey on those suffering in these difficult times. That is why it is so important to contact skilled and respected debt settlement lawyers who can stand with consumers and provide reliable legal and financial advice that may save their economic future.

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