7 Legal Terms You Should Know About Your Debt
Written by Cooper & Friedman PLLC on October 8, 2021
Most people at some point in life have some type of debt. This may include unpaid charges on a credit card, rent, student loan aid, a mortgage on a house, owed taxes, or alimony and child support payments, for example. If you miss scheduled payments on your unpaid debt, it is possible your creditors may hire a debt collector to try to obtain money from you.
While many debt collectors follow the law, some may engage in more threatening and even abusive or illegal debt collection practices. In these cases, it is advisable that you seek out the help of a qualified attorney that can assess your situation and advise you about how to best handle a possible debt collection harassment case.
As with many areas of the law, debt collection harassment cases frequently involve specific terminology that may not be familiar to you. Follow along for 7 terms and definitions often used in legal cases dealing with unfair debt collection practices or treatment.
7 Common Terms Used in Debt Collection Harassment Cases
1. Garnishment – If you have an outstanding debt, a creditor may try to get a court order that takes money out of your bank account automatically in order to pay down the debt. The court order is sometimes referred to as a garnishment.
2. Statute Of Limitations – If you owe money, debt collectors have a set amount of time they are allowed to sue you to try to collect money towards the debt. This time frame is commonly referred to as a “statute of limitations.” Normally it starts when you miss a payment deadline. The length of time varies based on the state laws where your debt is held, and the type of debt you have.
3. Time-Barred – If you owe debt and the statute of limitations period expires on this debt, your unpaid debt is often referred to as “time-barred” and a deb collector is no longer able to sue you in order to try to collect. It is actually against the law for a creditor or debt collector to sue you or threaten you for not paying time-barred debt.
4. Revived Debt – If you owe a debt, and you make some type of partial payment on the balance of the debt, depending on which state you are in, that debt may become revived which means that the statute of limitations timeframe resets and a new statute of limitations starts.
5. Dispute Letter – If a debt collector charges you with debt that you do not think you owe, you may send the debt collector a letter asking for verification of the debt. After you receive verification information, if you still do not think the debt is yours, you may send the debt collection agency a dispute letter stating that you do not owe the alleged debt. The dispute letter must be sent in a 30-day time span.
6. Validation Information – If a debt collector claims that you owe debt, they are expected to provide you with validation information about the debt. This may be done in writing or by phone, and includes the following information:
- the amount of your debt,
- the name of the creditor you have debt with,
- how to find out the name of the original creditor that you owe, and
- what you need to do if you feel like the debt is not yours.
7. Damages – If you have been harassed by a debt collector, you may decide to seek out legal help and even take them to court. If the debt collector’s actions caused you to lose wages from your work, or accumulate medical bills, for example, you may be able to sue them for damages. Damages include the amount of money the law allows for a violation of your legal rights.
Do you think that a debt collector is harassing you or attempting to collect money from that you believe you do not owe? If you answered “yes” to this question, you have the legal right to have it removed. If you or someone you love is the victim of debt collection harassment in the State of Kentucky, the attorneys at Cooper & Friedman PLLC are here to help. For more information, contact Cooper & Friedman PLLC today to schedule a free case consultation with an experienced attorney.