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Debt Collection Laws in Delaware

Sarah Edwards | August 07, 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: Delaware residents are protected by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which forbids dishonest or aggressive conduct among debt collectors. SoloSuit can help you respond to debt collectors through a Debt Validation Letter, and SoloSettle can help you resolve your debt in a debt settlement.

Your phone’s been ringing every day for about a week. The caller identifies himself as a debt collector — but you can just ignore him, right? Wrong. If the debt is legitimate, the collection agency may eventually sue you for unpaid debts. But that doesn’t mean that Delaware residents have to be victims of aggressive debt collection practices.

Learn more about the laws that protect you and find out how to safely respond to debt collection phone calls.

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Delaware debt collection laws protect you from unfair debt collection practices

As a resident of Delaware, you’re entitled to all the rights and protections that fall under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). This act prohibits dishonest or aggressive debt collection practices, including:

  • Falsifying information or legal documents.
  • Calling you more than once each day.
  • Calling you prior to 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
  • Contacting a third party (such as friends, family, or coworkers) about your debt.
  • Continuing to contact you after receiving a Cease and Desist Letter.
  • Using obscene, vulgar, or threatening language.
  • Threatening to arrest you if your debt remains unpaid.
  • Refusing to validate your original debt.
  • Pursuing debts in court outside of the Delaware Statute of Limitations.

The FDCPA applies specifically to debt collectors (not your original creditor). It aims to protect you from harassment at the hands of an unscrupulous debt collector.

Delaware’s statute of limitations prevents old debt lawsuits

How long will your debt follow you around? Like most states, this depends on the type of debt in question. In Delaware, the Statute of Limitations is as follows:

Statute of Limitations on Debt in Delaware

Debt Type Deadline
Credit Card 3 years
Medical 3 years
Auto Loan 3 years
Student Loan 3 years
Mortgage 3 years
Judgment 5 years
Source: Del. Code tit. 10 § 5072 and § 8106

Most common consumer debts (such as credit cards and personal loans) fall under the “written” category — which gives debt collectors up to three years to pursue these debts.

How to respond to debt collectors in Delaware

The most important thing is to know your rights. Now, you’ll also need to know how to respond to debt collectors. Here are some tips for dealing with debt collection phone calls.

Validate your debt

Your first move should always be to validate your debt. Send the collection agency a Debt Validation Letter, which will prompt it to reply with an explanation of your debt, including this information:

  • Your original creditor.
  • The amount of your original debt.
  • The date of the original debt.
  • Any interest or fees accrued.

This will help you determine whether the debt is legitimate and whether your debt falls within Delaware’s Statute of Limitations.

Learn more about how to draft a Debt Validation Letter

Never agree to any sort of payment plan until you receive written validation of your debt. Collection agencies may try to convince you to make an initial payment as a sign of good faith. But if you do so, you could inadvertently reset the Statute of Limitations, and the debt collector can have another three years (or longer) to collect your debt.

Stop unwanted calls with a Cease and Desist Letter

If you need some breathing room, you can always send a Cease and Desist Letter. Once they receive this letter, debt collectors are forbidden from contacting you further. Just make sure that you keep track of your debt on your own; otherwise, your debt collector may attempt to take you to court.

Report FDCPA violations

Have you caught your debt collector violating the terms of the FDCPA? If so, you can report them to one of the following federal agencies, either online or by phone:

Make sure to document the specific incident and the date when making a formal complaint.

Respond to a debt collection lawsuit

Sometimes, a debt collector will slap you with a lawsuit. When that happens, you’ll need some legal help.

In Delaware, you have only 15 days to submit a legal Answer to your debt lawsuit. An Answer indicates your intent to fight the suit. If you miss the deadline, the court may render a default verdict in favor of your debt collector, shattering any chances you may have had for a lower settlement.

SoloSuit can help you draft and file an Answer to your Delaware debt lawsuit — all in a matter of minutes. Our software asks you a series of questions that guide you through the drafting of your Answer. Based on your responses to these questions, your Answer will be customized to your case. On top of all this, you have the option of having your Answer reviewed by an attorney to ensure that it is properly prepared for filing.

Create an Answer online using SoloSuit, and avoid the hassle of a legal battle.

Responding to your debt lawsuit buys you time to settle your debt before going to court.

Settle your debt in Delaware

Even if you’ve been sued for debt in Delaware, it isn’t too late to think about debt settlement.

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 Idaho, 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.

Act fast to resolve the situation quickly and work toward getting out of debt. Now, let’s take a look at an example of debt settlement in Delaware.

Example: After receiving the third phone call that week, David started searching for debt relief in Delaware. That’s how he discovered SoloSuit. He quickly learned that he should start by sending a Debt Validation Letter. Once he received the letter, he confirmed that the debt was his and that it fell within the Delaware Statute of Limitations. Thankfully, he turned to SoloSettle to negotiate a settlement with the collection agency. The agency reduced his debt by more than half, allowing David to arrange a payment plan to pay off his debt. Now, David is free to work on his credit and move forward with his financial goals.

Use SoloSettle to negotiate a debt settlement on your own..

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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

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