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How to Get Debt Relief in Maine

Sarah Edwards | July 27, 2022

When you get the debt relief you need^^

Summary: If you're struggling with debt in Maine, SoloSuit can help you find the relief you need.

Maine, known for its fantastic skiing options and quaint towns, is also one of the most expensive states in the U.S. to live in. Residents battle high state and property taxes while dealing with a relatively high cost of living and average salaries. The cost of living index is 115.

Individuals and families who live in Portland, Maine, carry an average of $8,569 in credit card debt. This isn't helpful, especially considering that salaries are relatively low in Maine. The average worker can expect to earn $53,230 per year, which is significantly below the national mean wage of $58,260 per year.

Those who are attempting to pay their regular expenses—rent, food, and transportation—while working on an average salary will likely find it hard to get out of the debt cycle without assistance. If this sounds like you, know that there are protections in place to protect consumers and help them to obtain debt relief.

How does federal law protect consumers?

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was created to protect consumers from abusive collection tactics sometimes used by debt collectors. It also outlines the procedures debt collection agencies and creditors must use when attempting to collect a debt from a consumer. Collection actions that were made illegal by the FDCPA include:

  • Advertising a debt for sale in order to induce payment by the consumer
  • Using violence or other criminal means to harm the debtor
  • Engaging in profanity or abusive language when attempting to collect a debt
  • Continuing to contact a consumer after they have been informed to contact their lawyer instead
  • Contacting the person at work if the employer prohibits them from doing so
  • Using crude or vulgar language when discussing a debt with a consumer
  • Calling repeatedly before 8am or after 9pm

There are numerous actions that the FDCPA prohibits debt collectors from engaging in. If you feel that a debt collector is harassing you, you can file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. If the behavior is particularly egregious, you may consider filing a lawsuit against the collection agency.

What debt collection laws are in place to protect consumers in Maine?

The state of Maine has statute of limitations laws in place to protect consumers from legal action by debt collectors after a certain period of time has passed. Types of debt that are protected by statutes of limitations include:


Maryland Statute of Limitations
on Debt

Debt Type

Deadline in Years

Medical

6

Credit card

6

Auto loan

4

Rent

4

Written

3 (12 under seal)

Debt on Account

3

State Tax

10

Judgments

12


Source: Findlaw


Once the statute of limitations for a debt has passed, the creditor or debt collection agency can no longer pursue action against you. However, this does not mean you aren't still responsible for paying the debt. The creditor can still contact you for payment via phone or letter. If you validate the debt by telling the collector you owe the money or make a payment towards the outstanding balance, the statute of limitations clock restarts, after which the matter may be taken to court..

How can I obtain debt relief in Maine?

If you're looking for a fresh financial start, there are several options you can consider for debt relief. The most common include debt consolidation loans and debt settlement. Both of these options have their own requirements. There are also debt relief programs specific to the state of Maine.

Below, we will explore your options for debt relief as a resident of Maine.

Who should seek a debt consolidation loan?

Those with a decent credit score may consider taking out a debt consolidation loan. This type of loan is used exclusively to pay off outstanding consumer debts. Typically, you'll be able to obtain a lower rate of interest than your current creditors offer. This solution works by giving you the funding to pay off your outstanding balances. You'll then make a single monthly payment to your loan provider.

Advantages of this solution include reduced interest costs and a shorter payoff period. If you're just making the minimum payments to your balances, you're probably paying a significant amount in interest and not making much of a dent in your principal. A debt consolidation loan can allow you to put more toward the outstanding balance, reducing the time it would take you to pay off the debt in a more traditional scenario.

You will need to have a credit score of at least 650 to obtain most types of debt consolidation loans. You can also consider tapping your home equity to pay off your creditors. In this case, your mortgage terms will be adjusted, but you may not need to pay as much per month as you would with a debt consolidation loan.

How does debt settlement work?

Debt settlement involves coming to an agreement with your creditors or debt collectors to reduce the amount of your outstanding principal balance. You can attempt to do this on your own, or you may seek out the assistance of a debt settlement agency. If you decide to do it on your own, it's important to understand how the process works and develop methods for tackling each debt.

Working with a debt settlement agency is the easier option since they have proven methods that they use for negotiating with creditors and debt collectors. If you decide to work with a debt settlement agency, they will advise you to stop making payments to all of the creditors whose debts you want to settle. You'll make a regular monthly payment to the agency, which will be saved in an account designated especially for you. As they settle each debt, they'll withdraw the money from the account to pay off the debt. When they settle a debt, you'll incur a fee.

But the great thing about working with a debt settlement company is that they will most likely convince the creditor or debt collector to settle for a percentage of the original debt amount—even as little as 20-70% of the debt. So, even after paying the company fees, you will still be saving money.

Debt settlement can be an effective way to reduce interest paid over time and eliminate debt in a relatively short period of time—typically between two and four years. However, during the process, you can expect your credit to take a significant hit. Check out this video to learn more about the potential effects of debt settlement:

Utilize these debt relief programs in Maine

If you've found yourself in a financial bind, the state of Maine has programs in place for people who are struggling with crippling debt and other financial problems. Check out these Maine debt relief programs to see if you qualify:

  • Maine Temporary Assistance for Needy Families: Maine's version of TANF, this program provides cash assistance to families while they work towards becoming self-sufficient. Once enrolled in TANF you may also be eligible for help receiving job training and education.
  • Maine Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP): Provides money to low income homeowners and renters to help pay heating costs. The program is not intended to pay for all heating costs, but to assist in paying the heating bills. Eleven Community Action Programs distribute the funds throughout the state, usually to the fuel vendors directly.
  • MaineHousing: Offers a variety of programs to help low-income renters or homeowners to keep up with the cost of rent and mortgage. This organization also helps first-time home buyers, aiming to make affordable housing available to all.
  • Maine General Assistance: helps individuals and families to meet their basic needs. This may include help paying for household or personal supplies (toiletries, cleaning supplies), food, housing (e.g., mortgage, rent, room rent, temporary housing), fuel & utilities, medical, dental, prescriptions, medical supplies/equipment, and burial costs.

Is a debt collector attempting to sue you in Maine?

Receiving a notice of a pending lawsuit is no one's idea of a good time. However, debt collection agencies and creditors have been known to pursue debt collection lawsuits against consumers. If they are suing you, it's important to exercise your rights by filing an Answer to their claim in court.

Use SoloSuit's free Answer form to respond to your debt lawsuit in minutes.

What is SoloSuit?

SoloSuit makes it easy to respond to a debt collection lawsuit.

How it works: SoloSuit is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your answer. Upon completion, you can either print the completed forms and mail in the hard copies to the courts or you can pay SoloSuit to file it for you and to have an attorney review the document.

Respond with SoloSuit

"First time getting sued by a debt collector and I was searching all over YouTube and ran across SoloSuit, so I decided to buy their services with their attorney reviewed documentation which cost extra but it was well worth it! SoloSuit sent the documentation to the parties and to the court which saved me time from having to go to court and in a few weeks the case got dismissed!" – James


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