A Guide to Understanding Debt Collection Laws in Georgia

What are the Georgia’s Debt Collection Laws?

 

What are the Georgia Debt Collection Laws sectionGeorgia Debt Collection Laws are designed to protect debtors from credit card companies, debt collection agencies, or any other creditors. The laws define the possible ways and limitations for the creditors to ask for their credit recovery from debtors within a specified period.

Though the creditors can still proceed with legal actions against the debtors and can recover their unpaid debt through wage garnishment and account seizures, with the help of debt collection laws in Georgia, you can protect your rights as a debtor.

Dealing with debt collection agencies on your own could be challenging. Consult an experienced bankruptcy attorney in Marietta, GA, to make better financial decisions.

Many people in Georgia are in significant debt, including but not limited to student loans, mortgage loans, bank loans, wellness or medical loans, and utility bills. Because of this, a significant population is haunted by creditors.

Moreover, if someone has a considerable sum of debt, they are more likely to be haunted, harassed, and threatened by the creditors or the debt collectors hired by the creditors. The debtor will start receiving phone calls and un-invited visits, and sometimes, the creditors will begin following the debtor around.

If you are being approached by any debt-collecting entity rather than the original creditor, you should endeavor to understand your rights before taking things on your nerves.

Georgia has advanced rulings regarding debt collection, known as the Federal Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). This statute protects people who owe money to creditors from the unfair, abusive, deceptive, and unwarranted harassing behavior of debt collectors.

 

What is the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act?

The federal government has established the FDCPA to ensure that debt collectors do not engage in unfair and deceptive practices. The act outlines limitations for debt collectors, such as when they can contact you, how often they can reach out, and what actions they are authorized to take.

According to FDCPA, debt collection activities may not:

Use Threats of Force or Violence

Debt collectors may not threaten you with physical harm, and they may not make you feel unsafe in any way. If the debt collector makes any such threats, that is a direct violation of FDCPA.

Use Profane Language

The FDCPA also limits the use of profane language by debt collectors. They are prohibited from using obscene, profane, or disrespectful language while communicating with the debtor.

Call Repeatedly From Different or Unidentified Phone Numbers

Debt collectors are not allowed to call you before 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m. Additionally, they cannot repeatedly call from different or unidentified numbers. If they do so, it could be seen as an attempt to harass or intimidate the debtor.

Threaten to Change or Increase the Debt Amount

Under FDCPA, debt collectors cannot falsely claim that you owe more money than you do. They also may not threaten to change or increase the initial or actual amount of debt. The law prohibits any such actions.

Submit Written Notice With False Information

Within five days of initial contact, debt collectors must send a written notice that includes all the details of what is owed and who it is owed to. This written notice should be free from any false or misleading information. If there are any discrepancies in the notice, it will be considered invalid for consideration.

Continue to Contact You After a Written Request to Stop

If the debtor makes a written request for all communication to stop, the debt collector must comply with this request. They may only contact the debtor again if it is an acknowledgment of receipt or a response to a court action initiated by either party.

Though the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act protects you from unfair or deceptive practices from debt collectors, it can not restrict the original debt collector. A debt collector can file a lawsuit and take legal action against the debtor.

If you do not appear in court, you could be considered responsible for the debt. If you are being contacted by a debt collector and want to protect your reputation, mental peace, and rights in court, consulting with a Smyrna bankruptcy lawyer is an excellent option.

Your attorney will help you understand your legal options and the actions you could take to stop debt collection agencies from harassing you.

 

What is a Debt Collector?

 

What is a Debt CollectorAccording to FDCPA, a debt collector is a person who regularly collects or attempts to collect consumer debt for other individuals and institutions and uses some name rather than his own when collecting consumer debt. The definition includes any institutions regularly collecting debt for unrelated institutions or individuals.

Debt collectors could be annoying, disrespectful, and stressful, but you can lead the situation rationally if you know your rights. The circumstances of being in debt are already stressful and challenging to manage. If the creditor becomes disrespectful, you may find yourself on the verge of losing hope.

However, understanding your legal options is always a great decision. You can turn to an experienced Kennesaw bankruptcy lawyer with experience managing debt collection and bankruptcy cases.

 

How Long Can a Debt Be Collected?

 

How Long Can a Debt Be CollectedThe statute of limitations in Georgia has timelines depending on the type of debt. If the creditor or collector doesn’t collect their debt in the predefined period, they won’t remain eligible or have any right to take it back.

Usually, the debt collection timeline for creditors lies between three to 20 years, depending on the type and sometimes the amount of debt. For example, the timeframe for debt consolidation loans, including credit card and student loan debt, would differ from other types.

 

Can You Go to Jail for Debt in Georgia?

Georgia has no statute or law for you to serve in jail for debt. You will not go to prison and wouldn’t be held liable for owing money to anyone in Georgia unless the debt is because of any criminal, fraudulent scheme or involving any damage or bodily injury to anyone for which you would have additional charges.

If you or your loved ones are being falsely accused of causing bodily harm or injuries, including any other sort of damage, it is best to consult with a lawyer. Your lawyer will assist you in preparing evidence, meeting with witnesses, and preparing facts to represent your case in court.

Whether it is medical debt or an unsecured loan, consult with experienced lawyers to assist you during these challenging times.

 

Can a Debt Collection Agency Garnish Wages in Georgia?

In Georgia, there are legal limitations on how much your paycheck can be garnished through wage garnishments.

A creditor can garnish the lesser of 25% of your disposable income. Disposable income or earnings are wages left after your employer has made deductions as per law. However, if your disposable income is less than 30 times the minimum wage, it can’t be garnished. But some state exceptions would apply.

If you are concerned about wage garnishment, it is best to consult a lawyer who can help you understand the details of wage garnishment law and its limitations.

 

What is the Statute of Limitations on Debt in Georgia?

 

What is the Statute of Limitations on Debt in GeorgiaThe statute of limitations is when you can take legal action against a debtor of your unpaid debt. Here are the timelines for different types of debts in Georgia.

  1. Oral Contract: four years
  2. Promissory Notes: four years
  3. Written Contracts: six years
  4. Auto Loan Debt: four years
  5. Credit Cards: six years
  6. State Tax: seven years
  7. Judgments: five years

Though time-barred debt can’t be claimed in court by the creditor, it will remain in the history of your credit report for up to seven years. Moreover, the creditor may still try different ways to collect the debt.

 

What Can You Do if a Creditor Starts Harassing You?

 

What Can You Do if a Creditor Starts Harassing YouIf a creditor starts annoying or harassing you in any possible way, you can contact the court to protect your well-being and rights.

However, a creditor may also take legal action against you. He can proceed with a debt collection lawsuit that could result in implementing the Federal Reserve prime rate and an additional 3% or by the rate agreed upon when entering the contract. The case could result in wage garnishment and transactions frozen from bank accounts.

Contact Cherney Law Firm, where you can consult with helpful, responsive Alpharetta bankruptcy attorneys. They may be able to help you better understand Georgia law and federal law to discuss your case, understand your legal rights and options, and prepare a ground strategy to face these challenging times with courage.

An experienced attorney or law firm can help you determine your case’s direction, better understand the Georgia Debt Relief Programs and bankruptcy process, and maintain a trustworthy attorney-client relationship to help you protect your rights against the debt collection agency.

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