Dena Standley | July 31, 2023
Edited by Hannah Locklear
Summary: Rhode Island debt collection laws protect consumers from being mistreated by debt collectors. These laws cover when, how, and for how long debt collectors can follow up on debt. If you’ve been sued for a debt, SoloSuit can help you stand up for your rights in court and settle your debt to avoid going to court at all.
Debt collectors often grow impatient when they follow up on debt. Some go a step further and use illegal means to convince or scare you to pay. Fortunately, consumers in Rhode Island do not have to tolerate these unlawful practices.
The state has laws that regulate how debt collectors conduct business. These debt-collection laws protect debtors from being harassed, misled, deceived, or experiencing unfair practices.
Rhode Island debt collection laws include both state-specific and federal laws. This article will explore the various laws that protect consumers and explain how these laws can be used to win a debt collection case. If you have received countless calls from a debt collectors, citing the law often causes them to back down or stop calling. Let's begin with the state-specific laws.
Sued for debt in Rhode Island? Use SoloSettle to settle the debt for good.
The Rhode Island Debt Collection Practices Act has fourteen sections, as outlined in Rhode Island General Laws Title 19 Chapter 19–14.9. Each section explains various laws that debt collectors ought to follow, and the last section outlines the outcome when they break the laws. The following are some of the regulations and how they affect you.
According to RI Gen L § 19-14.9-4, a debt collector can only call your family or friends to ask about your current location but should not disclose that you owe any debt and should only call once. In addition, they cannot use a postcard, and if they send the inquiry via mail, the letter shouldn't show it is about a debt collection.
Section RI Gen L § 19-14.9-6 states that a debt collector should not engage in behavior that equals harassment, oppression, and abuse. For example, debt collectors should not:
Have you sent a Debt Validation Letter to your creditor? Have they verified the debt in written form? If not, they have violated law RI Gen L § 19-14.9-9. This law states that once you send a Debt Validation Letter, the debt collector should respond within five days. The written verification notice should contain the following:
Once you dispute the debt or ask for more information about the original creditor, the debt collector should stop all collection activities until they provide the required information. Watch the following video to learn how to write a Debt Validation Letter.
Rhode Island debt collection laws (RI Gen L § 19-14.9-8) prohibit collectors from using unfair or unethical means to collect a debt. Examples include:
Section RI Gen L § 19-14.9-5 of the debt collection laws stipulates how a creditor should communicate to you about the debt. The provisions prohibit debt collectors from:
The statute of limitations is a period of time through which a creditor can enforce payment of a debt through the legal system.
In other words, the statute of limitations on debt is the deadline to file a debt lawsuit against someone. Once the statute of limitations on debt has expired, the creditor or debt collector can no longer pursue repayment through the courts.
The statute of limitations on debt is 10 years in Rhode Island. This includes Rhode Island’s statute of limitations on credit card debt and medical debt, which are both 10 years. On the other hand, if granted a judgment, creditors and debt collectors only have 20 years to take action based on that judgment. The table below further outlines the Rhode Island statute of limitations on different types of debt:
|Credit Card||10 years|
|Auto Loan||10 years|
|State Tax||10 years|
|Written contract||10 years|
|Open contract||10 years|
|Oral contract||10 years|
|R.I. Gen. Laws § 9-1-13 and § 9-1-17|
Apart from the state laws, Rhode Island also uses federal laws under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to control debt collectors and protect consumers. Most of the Rhode Island state debt collection laws borrow heavily from the FDCPA, the above laws are also found in this Act. Subchapter 1692 o-§ 816 also states that the FDCPA laws do not alter, annul, affect, or exempt an individual from complying with Rhode Island state laws.
Let’s look at an example of an FDCPA violation.
Example: Tracy began receiving calls from Vent Credits for a $3,200 debt she had defaulted from paying six months ago. She asked them to stop calling and sent SoloSuit’s Debt Validation Letter. Instead of responding to the letter, Vent Credits continued to call multiple times daily and became rude when she enquired about debt validation. This is a clear violation of the FDCPA, and Tracy could use this information to win in court.
What could Tracy do in this situation? Let's look at the options she has in the next section.
If possible, do not let a debt collector get away with harassing, misleading, threatening, or mistreating you at any stage of the collection process. Once you discover they have violated the Rhode Island debt collection laws, take the following steps:
Under the FDCPA, you may be eligible for up to $1,000 in compensation per violation.
In Rhode Island, when a debt collector violates the laws, and you take action against them, these are the penalties they may face under section RI Gen L § 19-14.9-13:
If you take a lawsuit against a debt collector for violating the debt collection law, you must file the suit within one year of the violation.
Avoid getting to this point by offering to settle with the debt collector using SoloSettle
Putting your debt behind you will also eliminate frequent phone calls and allow you to start rebuilding your credit. The collection agency likely purchased your debt from a credit card company or a bank at a steep discount, and it may be willing to accept a lower 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.
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.
For more information on Rhode Island debt settlement, check out our guide on How to Settle a Debt in Rhode Island, or watch the following video:
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