The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation's consumer protection agency, enforces the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
If you're behind in paying your bills, or a creditor's records mistakenly make it appear that you are, a debt collector may be contacting you. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation's consumer protection agency, enforces the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which prohibits debt collectors from using abusive, unfair, or deceptive practices to collect from you. Under the FDCPA, a debt collector is someone who regularly collects debts owed to others. This includes collection agencies, lawyers who collect debts on a regular basis, and companies that buy delinquent debts and then try to collect them.
What types of debts are covered?
The Act covers personal, family, and household debts, including money you owe on a personal credit card account, an auto loan, a medical bill, and your mortgage. The FDCPA doesn't cover debts you incurred to run a business.
File a Complaint for Attorney Discipline With the Office of Bar Counsel if an Attorney Willfuly Violates the FDCPA
What is attorney discipline? All attorneys licensed to practice law in Nevada are sworn to uphold the ethical standards of conduct adopted by the Supreme Court of Nevada. These standards are listed in the Nevada Rules of Professional Conduct 1.1 through 8.5 and are enforced by the State Bar of Nevada. Any attorney who violates these ethical standards is subject to discipline. Forms of discipline Discipline of lawyers in Nevada may take one of four forms depending on the particular circumstances and the severity of the offense.
How can I stop a debt collector from contacting me?
If a collector contacts you about a debt, you may want to talk to them at least once to see if you can resolve the matter -- even if you don't think you owe the debt, can't repay it immediately, or think that the collector is contacting you by mistake. If you decide after contacting the debt collector that you don't want the collector to contact you again, tell the collector -- in writing -- to stop contacting you.
Sending such a letter to a debt collector you owe money to does not get rid of the debt, but it should stop the contact.
Make a copy of your letter. Send the original by certified mail, and pay for a "return receipt" so you'll be able to document what the collector received. Once the collector receives your letter, they may not contact you again, with two exceptions: a collector can contact you to tell you there will be no further contact or to let you know that they or the creditor intend to take a specific action, like filing a lawsuit. Sending such a letter to a debt collector you owe money to does not get rid of the debt, but it should stop the contact. The creditor or the debt collector still can sue you to collect the debt.
Can a debt collector contact anyone else about my debt?
If an attorney is representing you about the debt, the debt collector must contact the attorney, rather than you. If you don't have an attorney, a collector may contact other people -- but only to find out your address, your home phone number, and where you work. Collectors usually are prohibited from contacting third parties more than once. Other than to obtain this location information about you, a debt collector generally is not permitted to discuss your debt with anyone other than you, your spouse, or your attorney.
What does the debt collector have to tell me about the debt?
Every collector must send you a written "validation notice" telling you how much money you owe within five days after they first contact you. This notice also must include the name of the creditor to whom you owe the money, and how to proceed if you don't think you owe the money.
Can a debt collector keep contacting me if I don't think I owe any money?
If you send the debt collector a letter stating that you don't owe any or all of the money, or asking for verification of the debt, that collector must stop contacting you. You have to send that letter within 30 days after you receive the validation notice. But a collector can begin contacting you again if it sends you written verification of the debt, like a copy of a bill for the amount you owe
What practices are off limits for debt collectors?
Harassment. Debt collectors may not harass, oppress, or abuse you or any third parties they contact. For example, they may not: * use threats of violence or harm; * publish a list of names of people who refuse to pay their debts (but they can give this information to the credit reporting companies); * use obscene or profane language; or * repeatedly use the phone to annoy someone.
False statements. Debt collectors may not lie when they are trying to collect a debt
* falsely claim that they are attorneys or government representatives; * falsely claim that you have committed a crime; * falsely represent that they operate or work for a credit reporting company; * misrepresent the amount you owe; * indicate that papers they send you are legal forms if they aren't; or * indicate that papers they send to you aren't legal forms if they are. Debt collectors also are prohibited from saying that: * you will be arrested if you don't pay your debt; * they'll seize, garnish, attach, or sell your property or wages unless they are permitted by law to take the action and intend to do so; or * legal action will be taken against you, if doing so would be illegal or if they don't intend to take the action.
Unfair practices. Debt collectors may not engage in unfair practices when they try to collect a deb
Debt collectors may not: * give false credit information about you to anyone, including a credit reporting company; * send you anything that looks like an official document from a court or government agency if it isn't; or * use a false company name. Unfair practices. Debt collectors may not engage in unfair practices when they try to collect a debt. For example, they may not: * try to collect any interest, fee, or other charge on top of the amount you owe unless the contract that created your debt -- or your state law -- allows the charge; * deposit a post-dated check early; * take or threaten to take your property unless it can be done legally; or * contact you by postcard.
Can I control which debts my payments apply to?
Yes. If a debt collector is trying to collect more than one debt from you, the collector must apply any payment you make to the debt you select. Equally important, a debt collector may not apply a payment to a debt you don't think you owe.
Can federal benefits be garnished?
Many federal benefits are exempt from garnishment, including: * Social Security Benefits * Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefits * Veterans' Benefits * Civil Service and Federal Retirement and Disability Benefits * Service Members' Pay * Military Annuities and Survivors' Benefits * Student Assistance * Railroad Retirement Benefits * Merchant Seamen Wages * Longshoremen's and Harbor Workers' Death and Disability Benefits * Foreign Service Retirement and Disability Benefits * Compensation for Injury, Death, or Detention of Employees of U.S. Contractors Outside the U.S. * Federal Emergency Management Agency Federal Disaster Assistance But federal benefits may be garnished under certain circumstances, including to pay delinquent taxes, alimony, child support, or student loans.
Do I have any recourse if I think a debt collector has violated the law?
You have the right to sue a collector in a state or federal court within one year from the date the law was violated. If you win, the judge can require the collector to pay you for any damages you can prove you suffered because of the illegal collection practices, like lost wages and medical bills. The judge can require the debt collector to pay you up to $1,000, even if you can't prove that you suffered actual damages. You also can be reimbursed for your attorney's fees and court costs. A group of people also may sue a debt collector as part of a class action lawsuit and recover money for damages up to $500,000, or one percent of the collector's net worth, whichever amount is lower. Even if a debt collector violates the FDCPA in trying to collect a debt, the debt does not go away if you owe it.
What should I do if a debt collector sues me?
What should I do if a debt collector sues me? If a debt collector files a lawsuit against you to collect a debt, respond to the lawsuit, either personally or through your lawyer, by the date specified in the court papers to preserve your rights.
Where do I report a debt collector for an alleged violation?
Where do I report a debt collector for an alleged violation? Report any problems you have with a debt collector to your state Attorney General's office (www.naag.org) and the Federal Trade Commission (www.ftc.gov). Many states have their own debt collection laws that are different from the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Your Attorney General's office can help you determine your rights under your state's law.
For More Information
To learn more about debt collection and other credit-related issues, visit www.ftc.gov/credit and MyMoney.gov, the U.S. government's portal to financial education. The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint or to get free information on consumer issues, visit ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The FTC enters consumer complaints into the Consumer Sentinel Network, a secure online database and investigative tool used by hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
Fair Debt Collection Practices: The State of Nevada generally follows the provisions of the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
Provisions Prohibited In Lease Agreement A lease agreement
Certain Provisions Prohibited In Lease Agreement A lease agreement with an option to purchase may not contain a confession of judgment, a negotiable instrument, a security interest or any other claim to an interest in property other than property delivered by lessor pursuant to the agreement, an assignment of wages, a waiver by customer of any claims or defenses. It also may not contain a provision authorizing lessor, or any other person acting on his behalf, to commit any breach of the peace, in order to repossess leased property. See Nevada Revised Statutes 597.060
Collection Agency Licensing Requirements
The laws governing collection agencies are in Chapter 649 of the Nevada Revised Statutes. Any person who engages in the business of collecting claims for others, or of soliciting or advertising in any manner for the right to collect or receive payment for another of any claim in the State of Nevada is required to obtain a license from the Commissioner of Financial Institutions Division, Department of Business and Industry, of the State of Nevada. This requirement shall, however, not apply to employees of collection agency, banks, nonprofit cooperative associations, abstract or escrow companies, and attorneys licensed to practice law in the State of Nevada. (NRS 649.075.) In addition, an applicant for a collection agency license must supply a bond between $25,000 and $50,000 (NRS 649.105.)
Collection agencies in the State of Nevada must maintain a physical office in the state
Collection agencies in the State of Nevada must have a physical office in the state and be operated by a person who holds a valid Manager's certificate issued pursuant to the provisions NRS 649.175 et seq., NRS 649.305. It must have signed contract with each of its customers (NRS 649.334), and a separate trust account for the deposit of funds collected. (NRS 649.355.) Detailed information on collection agency licensing requirements may be obtained from: State of Nevada Department of Business and Industry Financial Institutions Divisions 406 E. Second Street, Capitol Complex Carson City, Nevada 89710 (702) 687-4259 2501 E. Sahara Avenue, Suite 300 Las Vegas, Nevada 89104 (702) 486-4120
COLLECTION AGENCY (NRS & NAC 649): Physical office required in Nevada.
Licenses are required to attempt to collect a debt in Nevada on behalf of a Nevada client. An out of Nevada Collection Agency attempting to collect into Nevada on behalf of an out of Nevada client is exempt from licensing, provided those activities are limited to interstate communication (ie: telephone, fax, or mail). All printed forms require prior approval by FID.
DEBT ADJUSTER (NRS & NAC 676): Covers arrangements by a third party between debtor & creditor for repayment of debt
DEBT ADJUSTER (NRS & NAC 676): The non-lawyers who say they can get your loan reduced or any other third party working out a deal between debtor & creditor for repayment of debt. Furnish surety bond to Commissioner $10,000 to $50,000 determined by monthly amounts processed. Background investigation required of all principals owning or acquiring control of the company. Trust account required to be maintained in Nevada bank. May not operate a Collection Agency. Chapter 676 NAC-676
A collection agency may not impose interest where the creditor has agreed not to impose interest or has otherwise indicated an
OPINION NO. 98-20 COLLECTION AGENCIES; CONTRACTS; INTEREST; If clearly authorized by the creditor, a collection agency may collect whatever interest on a debt its creditor would be authorized to impose. A collection agency may not impose interest on any account or debt where the creditor has agreed not to impose interest or has otherwise indicated an intent not to collect interest. Simple interest may be imposed at the rate established in NRS 99.040 from the date the debt becomes due on any debt where there is no written contract fixing a different rate of interest, unless the account is an open or store account as discussed herein. In the case of open or store accounts, interest may be imposed or awarded only by a court of competent jurisdiction in an action over the debt. Please read the full actual opinion of Attorney General Frankie Sue Del Papa. OPINION NO. 98-20 COLLECTION AGENCIES; CONTRACTS; INTEREST;
Homestead $350,000 Private libraries $5,000 All family pictures keepsakes $12,000 Farm trucks, farm stock, farm tools farm equipment, supplies and seed $4,500 Money, not to exceed $500,000 in present value held in qualified retirement plans. $500,000 Motor Vehicle $15,000 Tools of trade $10,000