What You Need to Know About Arizona's Debt Collection Laws
If you live in Arizona and are struggling under the burden of unpaid consumer debt, debt collection companies may be harassing you. If so, you need to know about .
Rising consumer debt, such as unpaid credit cards, car loans, and medical bills, has left Americans with record levels of debt. Currently, about 77 percent of U.S. residents are in debt and debt collections appear on one-third of consumer credit reports. As of 2021, the debt load of Arizona residents is about $1,900 per capita. Being harassed by debt collectors is traumatic, but DoNotPay can help relieve the stress.
What Is a Debt Collection Company?
Debt is a deferred payment or series of payments owed in the future, as opposed to something the consumer pays for immediately. Sometimes going into debt is necessary, but it can become an overwhelming burden depending on the type of debt and the borrower's ability to make payments. Typically, debt collection companies purchase debt from the original creditor for less than its full value. The collection company's goal is to collect more money from the person in default than the amount the company paid to purchase the debt.
What is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)?
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is a federal law that limits the strategies that debt collectors can use to collect consumer debts. Debt collectors can make reasonable attempts to obtain a borrower's contact information. Also, they can notify the borrower that they are attempting to collect the debt. But they cannot be deceitful or misleading. For example, under the FDCPA, debt collectors are prohibited from:
- Using abusive or profane language.
- Calling at unreasonable times or places. They cannot call before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. without the borrower's permission. They also cannot contact borrowers at work without their permission.
- Harassing, abusing, or unreasonably annoying borrowers. This may include calling in the middle of the night, besieging them with phone calls during the day, or showing up on their doorstep.
- Threatening a borrower, a borrower's reputation, or property.
- Threatening to publicize the debt collection.
- Using other prohibited avenues of communication. For example, if the borrower is represented by an attorney, the debt collector can only talk to the attorney.
- Engaging in other unfair or deceptive practices, such as lying, acting as false creditors, withholding information, or misrepresenting the amount of the debt.
Arizona debt collection laws
For the most part, follow those of the FDCPA. For example, Arizona debt collectors must still refrain from calling late at night or very early in the morning. One key way that Arizona's Fair Debt Collection laws differ from the FDCPA is that debt collectors in Arizona must be licensed. Arizona law also provides that within five days of contacting a borrower, the debt collector must send them a written notice which includes the following information:
- The amount owed
- The creditor's name
- A notice that they have 30 days from the date they received the notice to dispute the debt. Then they have the right to verification of the debt within 30 days of filing the dispute
Violation of Arizona's debt collection laws is criminal in nature. A debt collector who violates these laws may be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor. The borrower cannot file a civil suit against a collection agency for violation of Arizona law. However, they must report the violation to the county or city attorney's office and they can still sue for damages under the FDCPA if there has been a violation of this law.
Legal Debt Collection Methods in Arizona
In Arizona, debt collectors have several legal ways to collect a debt. These are:
- Wage garnishment
- Real estate lien
- Account levy
How to Remove Collections from Your Credit Report
If an unpaid debt that doesn't belong to you shows up on your credit report, you can dispute the debt in writing and have it removed. You should always request debt validation. If the debt collector fails to prove that the debt is yours, you can have the debt removed from your credit report. Also, you can write a dispute letter for expired debt that is still being reported or accounts that have been re-aged.
You may be able to get the debt removed from your credit report in exchange for payment on your debt. Make sure such debt collector negotiations are in writing. In some cases, the debt collector will agree to a "goodwill deletion." DoNotPay can also help you obtain a clean credit report.
Arizona statute of limitations for debt collection
|Medical debt||6 years|
|Written contracts, including most credit card debt||6 years|
|Auto loan debt if there was a repossession||4 years|
|State tax debt||10 years|
How to Respond to a Debt Collection Lawsuit
There are a great many procedural rules and time limits involved in any debt collector lawsuit. However, if you are responding to a debt collection lawsuit without hiring an attorney, you will need to:
- Prepare an answer to the complaint
- Answer each item in the complaint
- Include any affirmative defenses
- File the document with the court and serve the plaintiff
If a creditor prevails in a debt collection lawsuit, the court may award a judgment authorizing relief, such as wage garnishment, account levy, or lien on real property.
How to Handle Arizona Debt Collectors on Your Own
If a debt collector contacts you in writing, they must provide a written notice with information such as:
- Identity of the debt collector, including name, address, and phone number
- The amount of the debt, including any fees such as interest or collection costs
- The date and nature of the debt
- Who was the original creditor and exactly who owes the debt?
When responding to a debt collector, your options include:
- Pay off the debt or negotiate a settlement
- Ask for the debt collector to stop contacting you. Note that once you request it, they are legally required to stop contacting you, but may proceed to file a lawsuit.
- Specify how you want them to communicate with you in the future
- If you believe they violate any federal or state laws, report them to the appropriate authorities
Typically, debt collectors seek to make you stressed or uncomfortable so that you pay the debt. This process may go on for a long time and be very upsetting for you. However, there is another solution.
Handle Arizona debt collectors with the help of DoNotPay
If you don't know where to turn, DoNotPay can help you deal with your debt collection problem in a way that's fast, easy, and successful. Here's how it works:
- Search “debt collection” on DoNotPay.
- Answer a series of questions about the debt collectors, including when you were contacted and how you were contacted, so we can determine if they have violated any debt collection laws.
- Decide which course of action you want to take based on our guidance, such as filing a debt verification request, demanding for the collectors to stop contacting you, or reporting them to the CFPB.
And that’s it! Once you choose the course of action you want to take, DoNotPay will handle the rest. We’ll deliver your request directly to the debt collectors via first-class mail, or file your complaint automatically with the CFPB so that they’re no longer able to use unfair debt collection practices.
Why Use DoNotPay for Arizona Debt Collection Laws
You do not have to endure the harassment of debt collectors in Arizona. DoNotPay is your perfect choice in stopping them because we are:
- Fast- You don’t have to spend too much time researching methods to stop debt collectors from harassing you.
- Easy- You don’t have to fill up tedious forms to get protection under Arizona Debt Collection Laws
- Successful- We have helped thousands deal with debt collectors and we can also assure you success.
What Else Can DoNotPay Do For You?
If you are facing hard times, you don't need the additional pressure of debt collector harassment. In addition to helping you deal with debt collection issues, DoNotPay can assist you with all kinds of aggravating problems. For example, if you are having problems canceling a subscription, need to increase your credit limit, or get other help with bills, DoNotPay is here for you.