Can Debt Collectors Sue You During Covid? Here’s What You Need to Know
The Covid-19 pandemic has caused unparalleled economic turmoil. Millions of people are struggling to stay afloat, and debt collectors are taking note. They may be more aggressive than ever before, but there are some protections out there that you need to know about.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at whether debt collectors can sue you during Covid, the laws that protect you, and what you need to do if you’re faced with a lawsuit.
Can Debt Collectors Sue You During Covid?
The simple answer is yes, debt collectors can sue you during Covid. The pandemic itself does not change the fact that you owe money, and if you fail to pay, legal action can be taken against you.
However, there are some important factors to keep in mind. Some states have implemented their own protections against lawsuits during Covid. For example, New York State has banned most debt collection activity during the pandemic.
Additionally, the federal government has taken steps to protect consumers through the CARES Act. This legislation includes provisions that prevent certain types of debt collectors from taking legal action against consumers until at least July 25, 2021.
The types of debt covered by the CARES Act includes federal student loans, mortgages backed by the federal government, and some types of credit card debt.
What Laws Protect You?
Even without the protections offered by the CARES Act or individual states, consumers still have some legal protections when it comes to debt collection. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a federal law that regulates how debt collectors can contact you and what they can say.
Under the FDCPA, debt collectors cannot harass or abuse you. They cannot threaten you with violence, use profanity, or repeatedly call you with the intent to annoy or harass.
Additionally, they must provide you with written documentation that provides details about the debt they’re trying to collect. This documentation should include the amount of the debt, the name of the creditor, and your rights as a consumer.
If a debt collector violates the FDCPA, you may be able to take legal action against them. This can potentially result in damages being awarded to you.
What Should You Do If You’re Sued?
If a debt collector sues you, it’s important to take swift action. Ignoring the lawsuit can lead to serious consequences, such as wage garnishment or property liens.
The first step you should take is to seek legal advice. A lawyer can help you understand your rights and determine the best course of action for your situation.
You should also respond to the lawsuit in writing. This response should be filed with the court and given to the debt collector’s attorney.
In your response, you should deny any allegations that are untrue. You should also assert any defenses that you may have, such as an expired statute of limitations or improper documentation on the part of the debt collector.
Another option to consider is negotiating a payment plan with the debt collector. This can be a difficult process, but it may be worthwhile if it allows you to avoid a lawsuit.
Dealing with debt collectors can be a stressful experience, especially during a pandemic. However, it’s important to understand your rights and the protections available to you.
While debt collectors can sue you during Covid, there are laws that regulate their behavior and provide some protections for consumers. If you’re facing a lawsuit, seeking legal advice and responding to the lawsuit in writing are crucial steps to protect your interests.
By staying informed and taking proactive steps, you can better manage your debt and protect your financial future.
Q: Can debt collectors garnish my wages during Covid?
A: It depends on the type of debt you owe. Some types of debt, such as federal student loans, are protected from wage garnishment during the pandemic. However, other types of debt may not have such protections.
Q: What should I do if a debt collector contacts me during Covid?
A: If a debt collector contacts you, it’s important to respond promptly. You should request written documentation of the debt they’re trying to collect and seek legal advice if necessary.
Q: Can I negotiate a payment plan with debt collectors during Covid?
A: Yes, negotiating a payment plan is always an option. However, it may be more difficult to do so during the pandemic, as debt collectors may be more aggressive than usual in their collection efforts.
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Debt collectors can sue individuals during the Covid-19 pandemic despite the economic turmoil, but there are protections available through individual state laws, such as New York State’s ban on debt collection activities, and the federal government’s CARES Act, providing protection to certain types of debt. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) also regulates debt collectors’ behavior, prohibiting harassment or abuse and requiring written documentation of the debt and your consumer rights. If sued, it is recommended to seek legal advice, respond to the lawsuit in writing, and potentially negotiate a payment plan.