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Oklahoma Debt Collection Laws: How to Protect Yourself from Debt Collectors

In 2022, Oklahoma's average credit card debt per cardholder is $6,207, making credit card debt consolidation and debt settlement urgent needs for them.

A consumer may incur debt for various reasons, such as low income, poor financial management, excessive spending, etc. If, being a consumer, you're having trouble paying off your debt and are worried about what the debt collector will do, there is some information you need to know.

Oklahoma has regulations and restrictions that shield you from overly aggressive creditors and debt collectors. Read on to learn more about the Oklahoma debt collection laws and boundaries debt collectors cannot cross when attempting to collect the debt, your legal grounds if they violate your rights, etc.

Debt collection laws in Oklahoma – What you need to know!

The Statute of Limitations on debt collection in Oklahoma

In Oklahoma, creditors and debt collection agencies have a limited time to pursue legal action to recover a debt. This specific timeframe is known as the Statute of Limitations. In Oklahoma, creditors have 5 years to pursue legal action on most debts. A creditor or debt collector can no longer sue you for a debt after the Statute of Limitations has expired.

What happens if you do any activity towards an old debt?

It is crucial to realize that the Oklahoma debt collection laws do not require debt collectors to inform you that the Statute of Limitations has expired. Some debt collectors, aware that the debt's Statute of Limitations has expired, may still be persistent in their attempts to obtain payment. The debt collector knows that if you make a new payment on the old debt, it will restart the Statute of Limitations.

In Oklahoma, when there is "new activity" on a time-barred debt (such as making a complete or partial payment), the Statute of Limitations can be restarted, giving a creditor or debt collector years of additional time to take legal action against you.

What the debt collector cannot do in Oklahoma

First, you must understand that strict federal and state regulations control debt collectors in Oklahoma. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has implemented and enforced the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) on debt collection in Oklahoma. This Act makes it unlawful for debt collectors to engage in abusive, unfair, or deceptive practices while collecting the debt.

The FDCPA covers a variety of debts, including credit card debt, medical bills, student loans, mortgages, and numerous other household debts. However, this Act does not cover business debts.

Oklahoma city’s collection agencies and debt collectors cannot, under any circumstances, contact you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. unless you agree with it completely. They cannot contact you at work if you tell them not to or that you cannot receive calls there.

Legally, debt collectors can contact you via phone, email, or text to collect a debt.

Additional examples of prohibited debt collection practices in Oklahoma include:

  • They are prohibited from threatening you in any way.
  • They cannot use obscene language.
  • They are forbidden from repeatedly calling you to annoy or harass you.

Debt collectors cannot make false statements to you, such as:

  • They cannot tell you a different amount of money than what you owe.
  • They cannot pretend to be a government attorney or representative when they are not.
  • They cannot falsely claim that they are sending someone to arrest you or that they will pursue legal action against you.

The obligations of the debt collectors in Oklahoma

Your legally obligated Oklahoma city collection agency or debt collector must disclose specific information regarding the debt they are attempting to collect.

A debt collector must provide you with detailed validation information regarding your debt.

They must provide you with the following three pieces of information:

  • The exact amount of money you currently owe.
  • The original creditor's complete and accurate name.
  • You can take action if you do not believe the debt is yours.

For instance, if you do not believe the debt is yours, you can send the debt collector a letter requesting proof and confirmation of the debt. You can dispute the debt in writing if you do not recognize or believe the debt is yours after receiving the validation information.

Once the debt collection agency obtains your letter, they must discontinue collecting the debt until they send you additional written verification of the debt or the original bill.

Can a debt collection agency file a lawsuit in Oklahoma?

Before the Statute of Limitations expires, creditors and debt collection agencies in Oklahoma can file a lawsuit to recover the debt. However, once the Statute of Limitations has expired, they cannot take legal action against you to collect a debt.

Can an Oklahoma debt collector garnish your paycheck?

In most instances, the answer is yes, but the debt collector must first file a lawsuit against you to obtain a court order.

The "garnishment order" will state that it allows the debt collector to garnish your paycheck to pay your debts. The debt collectors may seek a court order to withdraw funds directly from your bank account. Therefore, you mustn't ignore any lawsuits, as you may lose the opportunity to contest the court order, and the "garnishment" may also continue.

Some federal benefits are generally exempt from garnishment, including:

  • Social Security benefits.
  • Supplemental Security Income benefits.
  • Veterans' benefits.
  • Federal student aid.
  • Military annuities and survivors' benefits.
  • Benefits from the Office of Personnel Management.
  • Railroad retirement benefits.
  • Federal emergency disaster assistance.

How to remove a paid collection from a credit report in Oklahoma

The easiest and most direct way to remove a paid collections account from your credit report is to send a goodwill letter to your creditor requesting that they remove the account from your credit history.

Depending on the account's size and the date you paid it, the creditor may or may not agree to do so. However, in many instances, the creditor will deny this request due to their contracts with credit bureaus.

The credit bureaus may be able to freeze some of your debts temporarily. The standard waiting period is 30 days. After that, your accounts will likely appear on your credit report.

What to say when disputing a debt collection in Oklahoma?

The Federal Trade Commission advises that you be as specific as possible in the letter while disputing a debt collection. Write why you believe you do not owe the debt (or why you do not owe the total amount if you are disputing some amount), but give as little personal information as possible.

Can a debtor pay the original creditor instead of the collection agency in Oklahoma?

Even if the original creditor sells your debt to a collection agency, you are still obligated to pay it. As long as you legally agree to repay your debt, it does not matter who receives it.

However, you may have to pay less than you owe if you directly pay the original creditor. Remember that the original creditor simply attempts to minimize losses and collect the debt. And therefore, original creditors are typically more willing to negotiate than debt collection agencies.

Tricks and tactics used by debt collectors in Oklahoma to collect old debts

Even if a debt is ancient and barred by Oklahoma's Statute of Limitations, many debt collectors will use every trick in the book to try and collect it. Here is a summary of some of the tricks commonly employed by debt collectors when pursuing payment on an old debt:

  • Threatening to file a lawsuit against you despite the expiration of the Statute of Limitations.
  • Threatening you with incarceration.
  • Threatening you with a home foreclosure.
  • Constantly contacting your friends, family members, and co-workers regarding the debt.
  • Misleading you into believing that a small debt payment will effectively restore your good credit. Please understand that a small debt payment does not affect your credit score, and they only request a small payment to attempt to restart the Statute of Limitations.

How to not fall prey to the tricks and tactics

Suppose you want to avoid the possibility of being sued for old debt in Oklahoma. In that case, you should proactively determine whether the debt is time-barred under the state's Statute of Limitations.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act requires debt collectors to respond when asked whether an outstanding debt has expired. If the debt collector confirms that the debt's Statute of Limitations has expired, do not agree to pay the debt.

If you are uncertain whether the Statute of Limitations bars the debt, you should request confirmation of the last payment date. The debt collector must be able to provide you with the date of the most recent payment.

Alternatively, if the debt collector does not possess this information, the debt collector may attempt to collect the payment using flimsy or lacking evidence.

You are also permitted to request a debt verification letter from the creditor. After the debt collector contacts you, you can send a written request for debt validation within 30 days. A debt validation letter will confirm the specific information regarding the debt collection agency (or creditor), the debt owed, and your rights under the FDCPA.

By the debt collection laws in Oklahoma, credit and debt collection agencies must suspend all collection efforts until they receive a response to the debt validation letter.

What to do if the debt collector violates your rights?

Numerous calls or threats from debt collectors can be annoying and stressful, especially if they contact you on your cell phone or at your place of employment despite your request that they refrain from doing so.

You may file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) if a debt collector violates your rights. You may also file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to take legal action against the debt collector.

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