Patrick Austin, J.D. | August 09, 2023
Edited by Hannah Locklear
Summary: As a Louisiana resident, you can seek refuge in the legal rights and protections afforded under the Louisiana Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and specific provisions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, all of which protect you from unruly debt collectors. If you've been sued for debt, SoloSettle is a great way to resolve the lawsuit and settle your debt for good.
Dealing with relentless calls, menacing letters, and intimidation from a deceitful debt collector is an unsettling ordeal. This unnerving experience is familiar to many, including residents of the Bayou State. If you find yourself being pursued by debt collectors, there are legal provisions under both state and federal law designed to protect you while engaging with a collector about a delinquent account.
This article provides a comprehensive overview of debt collection laws in Louisiana, including laws pertaining to the statute of limitations.
The Louisiana Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is the state law corollary to the federal Fair Debt Collection Practice Act (FDCPA). This act is found under Louisiana Revised Statutes 9 §9:3562, and it outlines the following rules and regulations for debt collection:
It is important to note that the ability to request limited collection correspondence does not prohibit a debt collector from taking further legal action (e.g., filing a debt collection lawsuit) or contacting you in another manner (e.g., phone, social media, etc.).
According to §9:3552 of Louisiana Revised Statutes, if a debt collector in Louisiana breaks the rules by not respecting a request from a consumer to limit their communication, or if they break other rules in the law about debt collection, the consumer can take legal action. If the consumer wins this legal action, they might get back all the extra money they were charged (like loan finance charges or credit service charges). They could even get three times that amount and their attorney's fees paid if they were charged more than they should have been.
Under Louisiana Revised Statutes § 9:3534
In essence, these rules safeguard consumers from potentially excessive financial burdens when they're already dealing with the stress of unpaid debts. By understanding these regulations, individuals can be better equipped to manage their financial situations and protect their rights when dealing with creditors and debt collection agencies.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a federal law governing the practices of debt collectors. In addition, the FDCA provides consumers with notable legal protections against certain predatory and harassing practices. More specifically, a debt collector violates the FDCPA if they:
The FDCPA also states that debt collectors are prohibited from using any misleading or deceptive representation in their effort to collect on a debt. In addition, the FDCPA requires debt collectors to substantiate that you actually owe the debt being pursued. For example, you can demand a debt collector issue a debt validation letter confirming you actually owe the debt.
Another way the FDCPA prioritizes consumers is by allowing them to claim monetary compensation from a debt collector who violates the FDCPA. If you can provide proof in court that a debt collector broke the FDCPA rules, you might be eligible to ask for up to $1,000 in damages from that debt collector. This provision in the FDCPA lets consumers seek this compensation without needing to demonstrate actual harm – it's enough to prove the violation occurred.
Apart from the possibility of getting compensation, a court can also make a debt collector who broke the FDCPA rules stop specific collection actions. This is called "injunctive relief." For instance, a court can make the debt collector who violated the FDCPA stop contacting you entirely – this includes both phone calls and letters.
In addition to the LFDCPA and FDCPA, consumers have specific rights and protections related to their credit information under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The FCRA is a landmark federal law providing statutory protections to consumers in the context of information reported to the large credit reporting agencies. For example, the FCRA contains the "Furnisher Rule" which governs how and what information a debt collection agent or agency can transmit to a credit reporting agency. The Furnisher Rule places the following requirements on the transmission of information from debt collectors to credit reporting agencies:
Apart from the legal safeguards and entitlements outlined by Louisiana state law, the FDCPA, and the FCRA, another important legal framework concerning debt collection is the statute of limitations. This statute sets a specific time duration, usually set by a state's lawmakers, during which something can be used as the basis for a civil claim (like breach of contract, personal injury, debt collection actions, and more). The statute of limitations varies from state to state, including in Louisiana.
The table below outlines Louisiana’s statute of limitations on different types of debt:
|Credit Card||3 years|
|Auto Loan||3 years|
|Student Loan||3 years|
|Personal Loan||3 years|
|Source: La. Civ. Code art. 3494, 3499, and 3501|
The statute of limitations clock typically begins on the date of your last action on an account, or in other words, the date of your last payment. If the statute of limitations on your debt is already expired, this is going to be your strongest defense in a debt lawsuit. In fact, if you can prove that the statute of limitations is up, the case will almost always be dismissed.
It is your responsibility to bring up the statute of limitations. The judge will not check for you. This is why it’s so important to do your research before agreeing to make any payments to a debt collector, because doing so can restart the clock on the statute of limitations.
If you know you owe the debt, and the debt is still within the statute of limitations, another option to resolve your debt lawsuit is 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 Louisiana, 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 Louisiana
Debt collection laws in Louisiana, and at the federal level passed by Congress, are available to help level the playing field when a consumer is being hounded by an unscrupulous debt collector. Here are some key takeaways on this article on debt collection laws in Louisiana:
If you’ve been sued for a debt in Louisiana, respond to the case with SoloSuit’s Debt Answer form and increase your chances of winning.
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.
Here's a list of guides for other states.
Being sued by a different debt collector? Were making guides on how to beat each one.
You can ask your questions on the SoloSuit forum and the community will help you out. Whether you need help now are are just look for support, we're here for you.
Is your credit card company suing you? Learn how you can beat each one.
Need more info on statutes of limitations? Read our 50-state guide.
Need help managing your finances? Check out these resources.
Out Debt Validation Letter is the best way to respond to a collection letter. Many debt collectors will simply give up after receiving it.
"Finding yourself on the wrong side of the law unexpectedly is kinda scary. I started researching on YouTube and found SoloSuit's channel. The videos were so helpful, easy to understand and encouraging. When I reached out to SoloSuit they were on it. Very professional, impeccably prompt. Thanks for the service!" - Heather