1. What law governs debt collection practices in the United States?
Although each state has its own consumer protection laws many have implemented the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). This is a federal law that provides residents of all states with considerable rights and protections against abusive, unfair and deceptive debt collection practices by debt collectors.
2. Who is considered a debt collector?
A debt collector, as defined by the FDCPA, is anyone who regularly collects debts on behalf of an original creditor. Original creditors, such as credit card companies and banks, are not considered debt collectors when they attempt to collect debts owed directly to them. Thus, original creditors are not covered under the FDCPA. Moreover, the FDCPA is somewhat limited in that it only covers consumer debt. This includes personal, familial and household debt, but does not cover business debts or any debt incurred for business or commercial purposes. Common types of consumer debt are credit card debt, car loans, mortgages, utility bills and medical debt.
3. Prohibited debt collection practices in Nevada
In Nevada, a collection agency, or its managers, agents or employees may not use any device, subterfuge, pretense or deceptive means of representation to collect any debt, nor use any collection letter, demand or notice which simulates a legal process or purports to be from any local, city, state, county or government authority or attorney. Nevada Revised Statutes 649.375(1).
4. How do I collect a debt?
The actual process of collecting a debt can take several forms and includes many steps. Most common among these is to simply hire a collection agency and transfer the debt to the collection agency who will attempt to collect the debt, typically on a commission percentage basis. Another option for collecting a debt is through litigation. In order to collect a debt through a court in Nevada, the creditor must file a complaint with a court having proper jurisdiction. Often, a defendant debtor will not answer a particular complaint leading to a default judgment. Once a default judgment has been entered, collection proceedings may be commenced. However, default judgments may be set aside for good cause. Nevada courts apply this rule liberally preferring to hear a case on its merits rather then disposing of it through default. The actual collection of monies due a judgment creditor is a time consuming process and will require the assistance of experienced legal counsel.
5. How do I enforce a judgment through collection?
There are tools available to a judgment creditor to effectuate the seizure of a judgment debtor's assets to satisfy the debt. In order to effectuate this process a judgment creditor must exercise caution to ensure that the assets seized actually belong to the debtor. As with other debt collectors you must not engage in conduct that is deceptive, harassing, or threatening. The debt can be collected through various means, including, but not limited to wage garnishment, property attachments, and/or property liens. This process can be difficult, accordingly, we highly recommend that you contact a local business lawyer to help expedite the process.
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