For many businesses, collecting debts from customers that have fallen behind on payments or stopped paying at all can be overwhelming. Because of overly aggressive and harmful actions by some debt collectors, a number of laws have been enacted to protect debtors. Businesses should be aware of two statutes in particular when attempting to collect a consumer debt: The Unfair, Deceptive or Unreasonable Collection Practices Act, N.H. RSA 358-C and The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1692-1695 (“FDCPA”).
The FDCPA is a federal law that provides a range of protections for the debtor, including: restricting the hours that a debtor can be contacted, preventing debt collection communication by postcards, and preventing threats to repossess or sell the debtor’s property if there is no intention to actually do so. Generally, a business will be exempt from the requirements of the FDCPA, so long as it is attempting to collect a debt owed to it in the ordinary course of business. There are times when a business’s attempts to collect its own debts can be covered under the FDCPA – for example if a business suggests that a third party is involved in the collection.
Under New Hampshire state law, the Unfair, Deceptive or Unreasonable Collection Practices Act applies to all businesses that are collecting consumer debts. This law provides many protections to debtors, including: limiting attempts to contact the debtor at his or her place of employment, preventing, with limited exceptions, disclosure of information about the debt to other people, and requiring the debt collector to disclose when a court order will be required to enforce a threatened seizure, garnishment, attachment, or sale of property or wages. The debtor must be told he or she will have a chance to contest the debt in court.
The attorneys at Kalil & LaCount are here to assist you with your debt collection needs. Our attorneys have successfully collected a wide variety of consumer and business debts. Kalil & LaCount works to collect the debt without expensive litigation and also represents our clients’ interests in bankruptcy court. We handle cases on both a contingency and hourly basis and will work with you to find the method to best suit your needs.
From all of the lawyers and staff at Kalil & LaCount, best wishes for the New Year!