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California Debt Relief Laws

The federal Fair Debt Collections Practices Act was created in 1977 with the intention of regulating debt collectors. As outlined in the Californian’s Federal Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), Californians have a several ways they can protect themselves against unfair collections.

In addition to the typical protections about harassment, where and when creditors can call debtors, a statute of limitations (SOL) is has been put in place to protect Californians against extensive or lengthy pursuit of collections.

California debt relief law allows for up to four years to collect credit card debts, according to State Statute 337. However, even with the four-year statute of limitation (SOL), creditors may still pursue debt collection--however they cannot sue you in order to collect the debt.

The law in California applies to both original and debt collection agencies and under the federal statue, a debt collector is deemed as a person whose “principal purpose” is the collection of debts or who “regularly collects or attempts to collect debt.” Attorneys are included in this statute when acting as the collector of consumer debts.

Rosenthal Fair Debt Collections Practices Act

The Rosenthal Fair Debt Collections Act (RFDCPA) is an extension of the FDCPA for Californians. The RFDCPA adds other kinds of collectors under the FDCPA California umbrella to include creditors as debt collectors. Additionally, California RFDCPA includes the collection of property.

While specific federal notices are required for FDCPA, the RFDCPA mandates additional notices such as violations of the FDCPA with only a few minor exceptions.

Under California Civil Code 1788.2 (c): the term "debt collector" means any person who, in the ordinary course of business, regularly, on behalf of himself or herself or others, engages in debt collection. The term includes any person who composes and sells, or offers to compose and sell, forms, letters, and other collection media used or intended to be used for debt collection, but does not include an attorney or counselor at law.”

California Credit Card Debt Relief Act of 2010

The Credit Card Debt Relief Act of 2010 has streamlined the methods for repaying debt and regulated how collectors work with debtors. The Act has impacted debt relief collections several ways:

  • The number of fraudulent or weak performing credit card companies are gone
  • Reduces the chances of falling victim to fraudulent debt settlement companies due to new Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reforms
  • Increased, open communication from creditors--more information is provided to help you eliminate your loans
  • Debt settlement companies cannot request upfront fees from clients

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