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How Minnesota Debt Collections Laws Can Protect You From Harassment

No one enjoys being contacted by debt collectors, and an already unpleasant situation is frequently exacerbated by debt collectors who violate state and federal laws protecting debtors.

How The FDCPA Works

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is a federal law that regulates and prohibits certain bill collector behaviors.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, also known as the "FDCPA," was enacted by Congress in response to abusive collection agency practices and concerns that the abuses were causing an increase in bankruptcies. The Act's purpose is to provide guidelines for collection agencies seeking to collect legitimate debts while providing debtors with protections and remedies.

The Act governs the behavior of debt collectors, defined as anyone who regularly collects debts owed to others. This definition includes lawyers who regularly perform debt collection services. This law limits the conduct of debt collectors even when you legitimately owe them money.

Some of the guidelines set for the collection agencies by the FDCPA include:

  • Debt collectors cannot call you at work if you have indicated that you do not want them to contact you there. Collectors are permitted to contact you only between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.
  • Debt collectors cannot contact anyone about your debt except your lawyer if you have a lawyer. They can contact your friends and family to find your contact information or place of employment. Still, they are not permitted to tell people about your debt or that they work for a debt collection agency unless specifically asked.
  • Debt collectors are not permitted to harass you, make false claims, physically or violently threaten you, or use obscene language. If you notify them in writing, they must stop contacting you. They can, however, take additional legal action.
  • You have the option of disputing a debt you believe you do not owe or requesting verification of the debt. The collector cannot begin collection efforts until you receive written confirmation of the debt.
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Responding To Minnesota Debt Collectors

If your debt has been transferred to a debt collection agency, you should expect several notices asking for payment over phone calls, emails, text messages, or letters. Debt collectors are more insistent than creditors since they profit from collecting as many debts as possible.

Although creditors can be painfully persistent, ignoring them is never the smart move. If they cannot contact you, they may decide to file a legal case against you. The court will subsequently enforce the debt using various methods such as wage garnishment, bank levy, or property lien.

Ignoring such a case, once again, just helps the debt collector when the court automatically rules in their favor. Instead, it's always best to react to the complaint on time if you want to challenge the debt collector in court.

When you receive a call from a debt collector, you should first ensure that they are a legitimate debt collector and that your debt is valid. If they do not instantly supply this information, ask the person phoning their name and company. Inquire about your creditor's identity and the debt you owe. Also, ask if they can prove the debt is yours.

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Minnesota Statute Of Limitations

In addition to federal and state regulations governing debt collection operations, Minnesota's statute of limitations governs how long a debt collector can sue you for outstanding debts. The statute of limitations varies depending on the type of debt.

Knowing the statute of limitations in Minnesota for various sorts of debts will assist you in developing the best plan to respond to debt collection complaints against you.

In Minnesota, the statute of limitations for most debts, including open accounts and signed contracts, is six years. Creditors and debt collectors can sue you under Minnesota law for breach of contract during this period to make you legally responsible for an unpaid obligation. After this term has passed, the court has the authority to dismiss such a lawsuit beause the debt is time-barred.

Type of Debt

Minnesota Statute of Limitations

Mortgage Debt

6 Years

Medical Debt

6 Years

Credit Card

6 Years

State Tax Debt

5  Years

Auto Loan Debt

4 Years

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Minnesota's Wage And Account Garnishment Regulations

A creditor, i.e., a lender, collection agent, or legal company that owns a collection account, is given a few options by law for collecting an unpaid debt. However, before a creditor can begin, they must appear in court to get a judgment.

Wage garnishment is the most typical method through which creditors enforce their judgments. In this case, they contact the debtor's employer and request that a particular portion of the debtor's wages is deducted each pay period and sent to the creditor.

Federal and Minnesota debt collection laws prohibit the garnishment of Social Security or pension payments for consumer debt.

In Minnesota, bank account levy is commonly known as account garnishment. A levy indicates that a creditor has the power to remove non-exempt money from a debtor's account and apply it to the judgment balance. Again, state law governs the method for levying bank accounts and the amount that a debtor might claim as exempt from the levy.

Minnesota legislation does not provide a uniform account exemption amount for all Minnesota citizens. As a result, unless one of the following exemptions applies, a judgment creditor may drain your bank account. Creditors cannot garnish your account for 60 days if you deposit your public aid in a bank account.

Creditors cannot generally garnish more than 25% of your net wages and cannot garnish your wages for six months after you have received need-based public assistance. Creditors cannot also confiscate your home, car, furniture, employee benefits, or insurance proceeds up to a specific value.

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Debt Relief Options in Minnesota

Debt relief refers to any products, services, or tools that can assist you in reducing or managing your debt, whether with professional assistance or on your own.

Debt consolidation involves taking out a larger loan with a low-interest rate and using it to pay off your higher-interest unsecured loans. After which, you only have to make a single monthly payment that will be less than what you were paying for all of your numerous different unsecured debts.

On the other hand, debt settlement usually involves negotiating with creditors to pay less than you owe. You can try to negotiate these terms on your own or hire a debt settlement company to do so on your behalf.

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The Bottom Line

When a debt is in collections, the original creditor assumed you wouldn't pay it and turned it over to a collection agency. Debt collection laws are in place to protect consumers from deceptive debt collection practices. The FDCPA forbids collectors from engaging in harassment, including abusive, threatening, or misleading communication.

Navigating unpaid debts isn't something to take lightly, and knowing your rights as a consumer is an excellent place to start when it comes to debt management. There are several repayment strategies depending on the type of debt and the amount owed if you are in debt.

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