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Debt Collection Laws in New Hampshire

Patrick Austin, J.D. | November 21, 2023

Patrick Austin
Attorney from George Mason
Patrick Austin, JD

Patrick Austin is a licensed attorney with a background in data privacy and information security law. Patrick received his law degree at George Mason University's Antonin Scalia Law School, where he served as the Editor-in-Chief for the National Security Law Journal.

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: N.H. Rev. Stat. § 358 is New Hampshire's Unfair, Deceptive or Unreasonable Collection Practices Act, which protects consumers residing in the Granite State from being subjected to inappropriate and harassing debt collection practices. These rights and protections are also echoed by federal law under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. If you're being sued for debt in NH, use SoloSuit to respond.

Suffering through numerous phone calls that seem to occur at all times of the day and night, receiving threatening letters in the mail, and other forms of intimidation and harassment by an unethical debt collector is generally considered to be awful by most people, including residents of the Granite State.

If you find yourself being pursued by such a debt collection agent or agency, there are legal protections under both New Hampshire law and federal law designed to protect you while engaging with a debt collector about a delinquent account.

This article provides a comprehensive overview of debt collection laws in New Hampshire, including laws pertaining to the statute of limitations.

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Legal protections under the New Hampshire Unfair, Deceptive or Unreasonable Collection Practices Act

One of the most important debt collection laws in New Hampshire is N.H. Rev. Stat. § 358, as known as the Unfair, Deceptive or Unreasonable Collection Practices Act (UDUCPA). This is the state-level corollary to the Federal Debt Collection Practices Act (more on this federal law in the next section). The UDUCPA governs debt collection practices that occur specifically in New Hampshire.

The UDUCPA provides legal protections for consumers against unlawful and improper debt collection actions. The UDUCPA applies to transactions, and debt collection efforts, associated with retail financing, automobile loans, mortgages, and credit cards. In addition, the UDUCPA applies to various kinds of debt collectors operating in the Granite State, including:

  • Creditors;
  • Collection agencies; and
  • Repossession companies

Unfair or deceptive practices are prohibited

The UDUCPA prohibits debt collection agents and agencies from using unfair or deceptive practices to try and collect on a debt from a New Hampshire resident. Prohibited acts under the UDUCPA include:

  • Causing a phone to ring repeatedly at inconvenient times with the goal of harassing and hounding a consumer;
  • Contacting a consumer at their place of work, even after the consumer expressly indicated they do not want to receive calls at their job;
  • Using abusive or profane language during discussions with a consumer;
  • Threatening to take action that the debt collector cannot legally take (e.g., threatening to garnish a consumer’s wages before a lawsuit has been filed); and
  • Falsely representing the status or amount of debt owed by a consumer.

Debt collectors must disclose who they are

In addition, the UDUCPA obligates debt collectors to disclose the following information to a consumer:

  • Their role as a debt collector;
  • The address for the debt collection company;
  • The name of the person who is on the phone; and
  • The name of the creditor, in situations where the debt collector is a third-party.
  • The right of the consumer to dispute the debt.

If a New Hampshire resident has evidence that a debt collector violated a provision of the UDUCPA, the resident can file a legal action against the debt collector. This legal action needs to be filed in the superior court of the county in which they reside.

The UDUCPA also allows for New Hampshire residents to file class action lawsuits against unscrupulous debt collectors who violate the provisions of the UDUCPA.

If a New Hampshire resident prevails in court, they are eligible to receive the greater amount between actual damages or $200.00, in addition to reimbursement for attorney’s fees and costs.

Respond to a New Hampshire debt lawsuit.

Legal protections under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

In addition to the UDUCPA, consumers are afforded legal rights and protections under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The FDCPA is a federal statute governing the practices of debt collectors in New Hampshire and across the country. The FDCPA states that debt collectors are prohibited from using misleading or deceptive representation when pursuing collection of a debt.

An important consumer-centric feature of the FDCPA is the ability to hold a debt collector accountable through a civil action. If you have evidence that a debt collector violated the FDCPA, you may be able to seek monetary damages. This is because there is a provision within the FDCPA enabling consumers to seek recovery up to $1,000 in damages from debt collectors deemed to have violated the federal law.

Furthermore, to obtain the $1,000 in damages, a consumer simply has to show that the collector violated the FDCPA. This means the consumer does not have to show actual harm.

Key differences between the UDUCPA and FDCPA

There are a number of similarities between the UDUCPA and FDCPA. In addition, debt collectors in New Hampshire are obligated to adhere to both laws.

However, one key difference between the two laws is that New Hampshire’s UDUCPA also applies to creditors who are attempting to collect their own debts. In contrast, the FDCPA does not apply to such creditors.

Other types of debt collectors that must adhere to the UDUCPA include, but are not limited to, collection agencies, factors, and repossession companies.

Statute of limitations on debt in New Hampshire

The General Court of New Hampshire has a statute of limitations that limits the time within which a creditor or debt collector can file a lawsuit to collect a debt. Pursuant to New Hampshire law, the statute of limitations period for most types of debt is three years; this includes credit card debt other major types of consumer debt. That said, the statute of limitations period in New Hampshire for auto loan debt is four years, and for mortgage debt it is twenty years.

The table below further outlines the New Hampshire statute of limitations on different types of debt:

Statute of Limitations on Debt in New Hampshire

Debt Type Deadline
Credit Card 3 years
Medical 3 years
Student Loan 3 years
Personal Loan 3 years
Auto Loan 4 years
Mortgage 20 years
Judgment 20 years
Source: N.H. Rev. Stat. § 508:4 and § 508:5

Use the NH statute of limitations as a defense in your case.

Important Points

Debt collection laws in New Hampshire afford residents with statutory protections and rights to help even the playing field between everyday consumers and large debt collection companies. Here are some key takeaways on this article on debt collection laws in New Hampshire:

  • If you are contacted by a debt collection agent or agency, do not throw your hands up in despair. You have legal rights and protections under both federal law and New Hampshire law.
  • If you are being subjected to harassment by a debt collector, you may have grounds to file a legal action under the UDUCPA and/or federal FDCPA to potentially recover compensatory damages and injunctive relief.
  • Debt collectors can only contact you between the hours of 8:00 am and 9:00 pm. They are also legally prohibited from calling you multiple times per day.

If you’ve been sued for a debt in New Hampshire, respond to the case with SoloSuit’s Debt Answer form and increase your chances of winning by 7x. Check out this video to learn more:

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