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West Virginia Debt Relief Laws

West Virginia Code Sections 46A-2-122 to 46A-2-129a is very similar to the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. (FDCP) as it addresses and deals with how debt collectors should interact with consumers. Some important rules include :

  • Collectors cannot use inappropriate or obscene language or make threats
  • Calls must be made between 8am and 9pm unless you specify otherwise
  • Calls made to you at work cannot be made if your employer disapproves
  • Debt collectors cannot correspond with debtors via postcard or use an envelop that indicates its from a collections agency
  • If you send a cease and desist letter via mail, the collector cannot contact you again except to tell you they are taking legal action against you
  • During communication (whether in person or by phone) creditors must state his name and not misrepresent who he works for (i.e. cannot say he is a cop or an attorney)
  • The debt collection agency cannot imply that you’ve committed a crime or threaten to sell your debt in an attempt to collect
  • You cannot be contacted by a debt collector if you are being represented by an attorney

Consumers in West Virginia are allowed to sue debt collection agencies. Plaintiffs can be awarded actual damages between $100 and $1,000, a refund of additional charges between $100 to $1,000 and lost wages if the collector caused you to lose your job. Additionally, West Virginia consumers can pursue legal action through the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).

West Virginia Statue of Limitations (SOL)

West Virginia has a five-year statue of limitation (SOL) on open accounts such as credit cards, meaning that the creditor can contact you for up to five years. For written contracts creditors can pursue you for up to 10 years. Consumers can consider West Virginia debt settlement during the time the account remains open.

West Virginia has fewer protections against non-income wages garnishment. However, the few exemptions include:

  • Pensions: public worker and teacher pensions are protected, however private pensions are subject to garnishment in West Virginia
  • Public benefits/assistance: workers’ compensation, unemployment compensation, crime victim’s compensation and veteran’s benefits and aid to the blind, aged and disabled
  • Insurance and annuity protection-- fraternal society benefits and group life insurance are covered from garnishment

West Virginia 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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