If you live in Louisiana and have outstanding debts, you may be contacted by a debt collector. Debt collection is the process of pursuing unpaid debts owed by a creditor.
While debt collectors play an essential role in the credit industry, their practices are strictly regulated by state and federal laws. This article will provide you with an overview of debt collection in Louisiana, including your rights, remedies, and options.
Louisiana has specific laws that govern debt collection practices in the state. Two of the most crucial laws are the Louisiana Collection Act and the Louisiana Consumer Credit Law. The Louisiana Collection Act regulates the activities of third-party debt collectors, while the Louisiana Consumer Credit Law applies the laws to original creditors who extend credit to consumers.
The Louisiana Collection Act requires debt collectors to follow strict guidelines when contacting debtors. For example, they must identify themselves as debt collectors and provide contact the debtor's consent along with written notice of the debt within five days of initial contact.
They cannot use abusive or harassing language, threaten legal action, not take or disclose the person in debt to third parties.
On the other hand, the Louisiana Consumer Credit Law requires original creditors to follow specific disclosure requirements when extending credit to consumers. For example, they must provide the consumer with a written agreement that discloses the interest rate, fees, and other terms and conditions of the credit arrangement.
If you owe a debt, you may receive a letter or a phone call from someone contacting a debt collector. The initial contact must include the following contact information:
If you dispute the debt, you have the right to get one notice and request validation. The debt collector must provide you with written verification of the debt, including the original creditor's name and address, the amount of the delinquent debt due, and any fees or interest charges.
If the debt collector continues to pursue the debt without a specific notice or providing verification of address, you have the right to sue that person for violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). You may be entitled to statutory damages, actual damages, and attorney's fees.
In every state or commonwealth, a distinct legal time frame is imposed for civil matters which is commonly known as statute of limitations. In Louisiana, this legal time frame is referred to as "prescriptive period." Below are some of the prescriptive statutes and periods allotted by Louisiana for concerns related to consumer affairs.
Source: Louisiana State Legislature
The commencement of the statute of limitations period is dependent on the situation and the corresponding statute. Typically, in most states, it commences when the action is accrued. In Louisiana, it starts when the mistake leading to the violation is detected, not when the aftermath of such error is discovered. Moreover, the prescriptive period's clock may be interrupted, also known as "tolled," under certain circumstances, or restarted altogether.
If you're facing debt collection in Louisiana, it's important to know your rights and options. Here are some steps you can take to handle debt collection:
Under the FDCPA, you have the right to dispute the debt collection lawsuit, and request validation by court. You also have the right to request that the attorney general or debt collector cease contact with contacting you. If the debt collector violates your rights, you can file a complaint with the Louisiana Attorney General's Office or the Federal Trade Commission.
Whenever you speak to a debt collector person, be sure to keep a record of the conversation. This can include taking notes during the call or recording the conversation (if legal in your own state law).
If you decide to communicate with the debt collector, it's important to keep a record of all mail contacts and interactions. You can request that the debt collector make personal contacts and make payments or communicate with you in person or writing only. You can also negotiate a payment plan or a settlement agreement.
Debt collectors may try to gather personal information from you, such as your social security number or bank account information. However, it’s important to remember that you’re not required to provide this information.
If you’re unable to pay the debt in full, you may be able to negotiate a payment plan with the creditor or debt collector. This can help you avoid legal action from original creditor collecting delinquent debt back, and can also help you pay off the debt over time.
If you're facing debt collection lawsuits, you may want to consider hiring an attorney. An attorney can help you understand your rights and options, negotiate with the debt collector or creditor, or represent you in court.
If you're struggling to collect unpaid debts, you may want to consider hiring a professional debt recovery collection agency. These debt recovery agencies specialize in debt recovery collection and have the experience and expertise needed to help you recover unpaid debts.
However, it's important to do your research before hiring a debt collection agency. Look for an agency that is licensed and has a proven track record of success.
Debt collection can be a stressful and overwhelming experience. However, if you live in Louisiana, you have rights and remedies that can protect you from abusive and harassing debt collection practices.
By knowing your rights, communicating effectively with debt collectors, and seeking legal advice when necessary, you can navigate the debt collection process with confidence and peace of mind.
Louisiana has a distinctive approach to statute of limitations since almost all civil actions have a one-year timeframe, which sets it apart from most states that impose a two to five-year period for various claims. However, there are some exceptions to this rule, such as a three-year limitation for the collection of rent and debts, and a 10-year statute of limitations for contracts and judgments.
In Louisiana, the statute of limitations on debt collection varies depending on the type of debt. For example, open-ended accounts such as credit cards or lines of credit have a statute of limitations of three years from the last payment made on the account. Written contracts have a statute of limitations of ten years from the date the debt was incurred. Oral contracts and promissory notes have a statute of limitations of three years.
The Louisiana Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (LFDPA) is a state law that regulates debt collection practices within Louisiana. The law applies to debt collectors and attorneys who regularly engage in debt collection activities, and it prohibits certain unauthorized collection practices that may be deemed harassing, deceptive, or unfair.