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District of Columbia Debt Relief Laws

The District of Columbia Code mirrors the federal Fair Debt Collections Practices Act. DC Code, sections 22-3401 to 22-3403, 28-3814 to 28-3816, and 28-3901 to 28-3909 directly addresses how debtors and creditors should interact. Highlights include:

  • Debt collectors can never threaten or misrepresent him or herself when contacting a debtor
  • Collectors may only contact debtors between 8am and 9pm unless you indicate otherwise
  • If you are being represented by an attorney, the debt collector must communicate with you through your lawyer
  • Collectors must send all correspondence in an unmarked envelope--no postcards or stamps outside the envelope indicating it is from a collections agency
  • The collector cannot misrepresent documents by making correspondence appear to be legal documents when its not
  • Collectors cannot charge you fees or collect an amount greater than what you owe
  • District of Columbia Debt Relief can be disputed in writing within 30 days of receiving the first notice--the collector cannot contact you again until your notification mails

Violation of these and the complete set of rules can result in legal action taken by the debtor. Depending upon the violation, the District can award the debtor for actual damages, punitive damages and lawyer fees. This action can be taken in addition to violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

District of Columbia Statue of Limitations (SOL)

Like many states, the District of Columbia has a three-year statue of limitation (SOL) on open accounts such as credit cards. This means you can only be contacted for up to three years regarding an outstanding credit card debt. For written contracts you have up to three years as well.

In terms of wage garnishment, District of Columbia has fewer exemptions than other states. These are the areas that are exempt under District of Columbia law:

  • Government worker salaries
  • Public assistance and benefits
  • Some insurances and annuities
  • Up to $200 per month of non-wage earnings

District of Columbia 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
  • District of Columbia Debt settlement companies cannot request upfront fees from clients

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