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Debt Collection Laws in Arkansas

Sarah Edwards | August 08, 2023

Sarah Edwards
Legal Expert
Sarah Edwards, BS

Sarah Harris is a professional researcher and writer specializing in legal content. An Emerson College alumna, she holds a Bachelor of Science in Communication from the prestigious Boston institution.

Edited by Hannah Locklear

Hannah Locklear
Editor at SoloSuit
Hannah Locklear, BA

Hannah Locklear is SoloSuit’s Marketing and Impact Manager. With an educational background in Linguistics, Spanish, and International Development from Brigham Young University, Hannah has also worked as a legal support specialist for several years.

Summary: Debt collectors have a maximum of five years to collect on debts in Arkansas. As a resident, you’re protected under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. You can report violators to the FTC, or you can use SoloSuit to validate your debt, reach a settlement, or respond quickly to a debt collection lawsuit.

You’ve tried ignoring the daily phone calls. But your debt collector just isn’t taking the hint. It’s gotten to the point where you dread seeing the number pop up on your caller ID.

Fortunately, Arkansas residents have rights that protect them from debt collection practices that fall in the category of harassment. Learn more about the debt collection laws in Arkansas and find out how to respond to a persistent debt collector.

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What is the statute of limitations on debt in Arkansas?

Debt collection agencies typically purchase old debts from an original creditor — most likely a bank or credit card company. But they can only file debt lawsuits within a specific time frame called the statute of limitations.

In other words, if your creditor decides to sue you for a debt, they must do so before the statute of limitations has expired in your state. If the statute of limitations has expired on your debt, they may still file a lawsuit against you. At this point, it’s your responsibility to bring up the expired statute of limitations in court as a defense. If you can prove the statute of limitations has passed, the case will be dismissed.

However, it’s your job to bring up this rule. The judge won’t check your debt’s statute of limitations for you. You must do it yourself. SoloSuit makes it easy to use the statute of limitations as a defense in your debt lawsuit.

The statute of limitations on debt varies by state. In Arkansas, the deadlines are as follows:

Statute of Limitations on Debt in Arkansas

Debt Type Deadline
Medical 2 years
Credit Card 5 years
Auto Loan 5 years
Student Loan 5 years
Mortgage 5 years
Judgment 10 years
Source: Ark. Code § 16-56-106, § 16-56-111, and § 16-56-114

This means that debt collectors can take legal action regarding written debts for up to five years. However, under A.C.A. § 16-56-105, you can benefit from a shorter three-year deadline on consumer debt, provided that:

  • The debt is filed as a Breach of Contract claim
  • There is no proof of the debt in writing

Most credit card debts and personal loans fall under the five-year deadline since there is written proof of the debt.

Arkansas debt collection laws protect you

As an Arkansas resident, you fall under the nationwide protection of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). This act prohibits collection agencies from any of the following practices:

  • Threatening you with prison or arrest for unpaid debts.
  • Using threatening or vulgar language.
  • Contacting a third party (friends, family, or coworkers) regarding your debt.
  • Calling you more than once per day.
  • Contacting you after receiving a Cease and Desist Letter.
  • Refusing to validate your debt.
  • Falsifying legal paperwork, such as court documents.
  • Making false or misleading statements.

Keep in mind that the FDCPA applies only to debt collection agencies, not your original creditors. Arkansas debt collection laws grant additional protections.

The State Board of Collection Agencies is vested with the authority to revoke, suspend, or deny the issuance of a license if they violate Ark. Code §17-24-307, which lists the following debt collection legal violations:

  • Submission of false or misrepresented information on the application.
  • Sale or transfer of agency ownership.
  • Assisting or encouraging any unlicensed individual to partake in collection agency operations.
  • Publishing or causing the dissemination of any list of debtors, commonly known as "deadbeat" lists.
  • Employing collection methods that contravene the postal laws and regulations of the United States.
  • Possession or use of a badge, uniform, or any representation thereof from a law enforcement agency, or making statements that could be misconstrued as establishing an official association with any federal, state, county, city law enforcement agency, or any other governmental entity, while engaged in collection agency activities.
  • Circulating printed material designed to resemble government forms, documents, or legal forms used in civil or criminal proceedings.
  • Advertising for the sale of a claim or making threats to advertise for such purposes to coerce payment, or agreeing to do so as a means to solicit claims, except when claims have been acquired as an assignee for the benefit of creditors or when acting under the order of a competent court.
  • Employing unethical practices or resorting to illegal means or methods of collection.
  • Utilizing profanity, obscenity, or vulgarity during the course of claim collection.
  • Sending correspondence to or contacting a debtor at their workplace without first making a sincere effort to reach the debtor at their usual residence through written communication, provided the mail has not been returned and no response has been received.
  • Employing physical violence or threats thereof while engaged in the process of collecting claims.

In addition to these rules, all debt collection agencies must register with The State Board of Collection Agencies in order to practice debt collection, according to Ark. Code R. §031-00-97-001.

How to respond to a debt collector in Arkansas

Knowing the law is half the battle. What should you do if you’re being hounded by a debt collector?

Avoid acknowledging your debt

Debt collectors may try to pressure you into making a good-faith payment, but you should be careful about acknowledging your debt over the phone. Once you make a payment on your debt, the Statute of Limitations starts all over again. Even if your debt is almost expired, your debt collector now has an additional five years to file a lawsuit.

Report illegal debt collection practices

If you believe the debt collector has violated the terms of the FDCPA, you can report it using the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) website or by calling the FTC at 877-382-4357.

You can also report violators using the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau website or by calling the agency at 855-411-2372.

Request a debt validation

Validate your debt by sending a Debt Validation Letter to the debt collector. The debt collector will then reply with an explanation of your debt, including the identity of the original creditor, the date the debt was incurred, the amount, and any interest that you may have accrued.

Use this template to draft your Debt Validation Letter.

Send a cease and desist Letter

You also have the right to send a cease and desist letter to stop unwanted phone calls. But there’s a downside: If you don’t make moves to settle your debt, the debt collector may take the next logical step and take you to court.

If you choose to send a cease and desist letter, you’ll need to keep track of your debt and work toward settling it as soon as possible.

Respond to a lawsuit

What happens if your debt collector tries to take you to court? You must submit a legal Answer to both the court and the collection agency, communicating your intent to defend yourself. If you fail to submit a prompt Answer, the court may render a default judgment in favor of the debt collector.

SoloSuit can help you draft and file your Answer. And if you like, an attorney can review your Answer, and SoloSuit can send it to the court and collector on your behalf.

Settle your debt

The surest way to get debt collectors off your back is by paying what you owe. But if you go about this wisely, you can usually settle your debt for a steep discount.

In a debt settlement, you offer your creditor a portion of the total amount due, usually at least 60% of the debt’s value. In exchange for a lump-sum payment, the creditor agrees to drop its legal claims against you and release you from the remaining balance.

If you decide to settle your obligation, you’ll want to ensure you get the terms of your agreement in writing and pay the creditor before your court date. If you’ve never tried debt settlement before, consider working with a professional organization that will guide you through the process.

To learn more about how to settle a debt in Arkansas, check out this video:

SoloSettle, powered by SoloSuit, is a tech-based approach to debt settlement. Our software helps you send and receive settlement offers until you reach an agreement with the collector. Once an agreement is reached, we’ll help you manage the settlement documentation and transfer your payment to the creditor or debt collector, helping you keep your financial information private and secure.

Read also: How to Settle a Debt in Arkansas

Now, let’s look at an example of how the debt settlement process might work in Arkansas.

Example: Luci had all but forgotten about those credit card bills — until she started receiving phone calls from a debt collector based out of Little Rock. She didn’t know what to do but knew she could only avoid her phone for so long. So after a little internet research on how to respond to Arkansas debt collectors, she found resources through SoloSuit that helped her send a Debt Validation Letter. Then, Luci used SoloSettle to reach an agreement with the debt collector. As a result, she was able to settle for 45% of her original debt and is now working to rebuild her credit.

Act fast to respond to a lawsuit

Have you been sued for debt in Arkansas? You may have as little as 15 days to submit an Answer. SoloSuit provides a step-by-step process to help you prepare your Answer, print it out, and send it to the court. We can also have an attorney review your Answer and send it on your behalf. Get started today.

What is SoloSuit?

SoloSuit makes it easy to fight debt collectors.

You can use SoloSuit to respond to a debt lawsuit, to send letters to collectors, and even to settle a debt.

SoloSuit's Answer service is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your Answer. Upon completion, we'll have an attorney review your document and we'll file it for you.

>>Read the FastCompany article: Debt Lawsuits Are Complicated: This Website Makes Them Simpler To Navigate

>>Read the NPR story on SoloSuit. (We can help you in all 50 states.)

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