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Pennsylvania Debt Relief Laws

Pennsylvania provides state protections for consumers who have been harassed or victimized by a debt collection agency. Pennsylvania Statutes Annotated Sections 7311 and Sections 2270.1 to 2270.6 resemble the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCP), which says:

  • 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

Under the Unfair and Deceptive Acts and Practices statue, Pennsylvania consumers can sue debt collection agencies and be awarded up to three times your actual damages for a favorable judgment. Additionally, consumers can pursue legal action through the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).

Pennsylvania Statue of Limitations (SOL)

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

Although all Pennsylvania debtor wages and salary are exempt from creditor, the state also provides for exemptions on non wage garnishment including:

  • Pensions: Pennsylvania provides for broad exemptions for retirement benefits, including municipal, school and state employee pensions
  • Public benefits/assistance-- any type of “welfare” benefits are not exempt in Pennsylvania however workers’ compensation, unemployment, crime victims’ compensation and veteran’s benefits are covered
  • Insurance and annuity protection--generally protected include fraternal society benefits, accident and disability

Pennsylvania 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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