The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a federal law that makes it illegal for debt collectors to use false, deceptive, or misleading practices when collecting debts. If a debt collector waits too long to collect a debt it can become “stale.” This means that the debt is so old that state law protects you from being forced to pay the debt collector.
Kentucky and Indiana federal courts protect consumers from collectors who send misleading letters that try to trick, pressure, or confuse consumers into repaying stale debts. In a very positive outcome for consumers in both states, this protection has survived recent challenges made by a debt collectors.
In the case of Buchanan v. Northland Group, the 6th Circuit (which covers Kentucky) decided that a debt collector broke federal law when it sent a collection letter to a consumer without explaining that the debt was stale or that the consumer would give up their legal protection if they paid back any part of the debt. In the case of Portfolio Recovery Associates v. Pantoja, the 7th Circuit (which covers Indiana) decided that a debt collector broke federal law when it sent a collection letter to a consumer making it look like they could be sued over a stale debt, when in fact they could not.
The debt collector in Portfolio Associates later asked the United States Supreme court to review this protection, but the Supreme Court declined to do so. This is great for consumers because the protections described above will stay in place.
Unfortunately, some debt collectors still break federal law and try to confuse or mislead consumers into paying stale debts. If you have received a letter from a debt collector, contact the lawyers at Craig Henry PLC. Our attorneys are experienced in debt collection matters and will give you a free consultation to determine if you may have a claim based on any false, deceptive, or misleading debt collection practices. Call our attorneys today at (502) 614-5962.