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Debt Relief Guide

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Massachusetts Debt Relief Laws

Massachusetts debt settlement and debt relief laws are similar to Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Massachusetts Regulations 940 CMR 7.00 addresses consumer protection in Massachusetts. Some laws include:

  • Debt collector cannot publish or post your name
  • 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
  • Creditor initiated calls must be made between the hours of 8am and 9pm (unless you indicate otherwise)
  • 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
  • Debt can be disputed in writing within 30 days of receiving the first notice--the collector cannot contact you again until your notification mails

Consumers in Massachusetts do not have the right to sue a debt collection agency if it violates the law. However, Massachusetts consumers who have been victimized by a collection agency can sue and collect up to $1,000 in damages under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).

Massachusetts Statue of Limitations (SOL)

Massachusetts has a six-year statue of limitation (SOL) on open accounts such as credit cards, meaning that the creditor can contact you for up to six years. For written contracts creditors can also pursue you for up to six years. Consumers can consider Massachusetts debt settlement during the time the account remains open.

Massachusetts debt relief means that law protects certain areas of wage garnishment. Areas that are exempt include:

  • Social Security is protected under federal law
  • Pensions and retirement benefits--Massachusetts offers broad pension and retirement benefit protection which includes public employee pensions, however the state does not protect retirement savings accounts such as IRAs or 401 (k) s
  • Public benefits/assistance-- protection for workers’ compensation, unemployment, veteran benefits, aid to families with dependent children and disability
  • Massachusetts has broad protection of annuities and insurance policies including group life and group annuities, disability benefits (up to $400 per week), fraternal society benefits, life insurance policies or annuities with clauses that prohibit money to pay creditors

Massachusetts 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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