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How to Get Debt Relief in Rhode Island

Sarah Edwards | October 19, 2022

Sarah Edwards
Legal Expert
Sarah Edwards, BS

Sarah Edwards 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.

SoloSuit is on its way to rescue you from debt

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

If you suffer from overwhelming credit card debt in Rhode Island, you're not alone. The average adult living in Providence carries $9,236 in credit card debt, and that, combined with rising prices for everyday items and increasing housing costs, can cause serious problems.

This is especially true for individuals and households who are barely able to make ends meet.

Rhode Island is also known for its high cost of living. In fact, it's the tenth most expensive state in the nation. While the median wage for the state is $62,120, which is above the national average of $58,260, households are subject to high state and property tax rates, which takes away from available income to pay down debt.

Thankfully, both the federal and state governments have provisions in place to help consumers plagued by debt. This article will discuss your rights as a consumer, ways you can manage your debt, and state-specific debt relief programs in Rhode Island.

Let's jump right in.

How does the federal government protect consumers?

The primary tool in place to protect debtors is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which was established by Congress in 1977. This act outlines the procedures that debt collectors may use when attempting to collect from a consumer.

More importantly, perhaps, it prohibits debt collectors from engaging in certain activities that may be construed as harassment. Some of the practices that are banned by the FDCPA include:

  • Demanding more money than is owed, unless it's permitted by law
  • Depositing a post-dated check pertaining to a debt
  • Calling a consumer via collect call in an attempt to charge the person money
  • Threatening to hurt the reputation of the consumer
  • Using deceptive means to collect a debt

Other actions taken by debt collectors may also be illegal. If you feel that a debt collector is breaking the law to try to get money from you, it's best to file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

Rhode Island debt collection laws can protect you

Each state has its own statute of limitations laws that pertain to debts. These laws are designed to protect consumers from frivolous lawsuits after a specific period of time has passed. The Rhode Island statute of limitations laws are some of the longest in the United States.

Before you make a payment to a debt collector, you should check the Rhode Island statute of limitations for different types of debt:

Rhode Island Statute of Limitations on Debt

Type of debt

Statute of limitations

Mortgage and medical

10 years

Credit card

10 years


10 years

Auto loan

4 years

State tax

3 years

Source: FindLaw

Once these time limits have passed, a debt collector can no longer sue you in court. This does not mean that you don't still owe the debt, however, and they may use other means to continue contacting you to collect the money. If you admit that you owe the debt or make any sort of payment toward it, the statute of limitations clock will restart.

What debt relief programs are available in Rhode Island?

There are three main options that borrowers may choose from if paying off debt has become overwhelming. These are debt consolidation, debt settlement, and bankruptcy. Below, we will break each method down in detail.

What is debt consolidation?

Debt consolidation is usually handled by working with a new lender to pay off all of your current debts. The lender approves you for a loan, and you pay off all of your creditors with it. Once this process has been completed, you'll make a single monthly payment to the debt consolidation lender.

Debt consolidation is a great option for people who have solid credit but need help paying off their debt more quickly. It can allow individuals to pay down what they owe without paying as much interest. However, debt consolidation is one of the harder debt relief programs to qualify for because you'll need a credit score of at least 650.

If you don't have the credit to qualify for debt consolidation, you may be able to perform your own debt consolidation by tapping into your home equity. This involves a cash-out refinance, which allows you to obtain the amount you need. If you choose this option, your monthly mortgage payment will have to be renegotiated with your lender.

Can I settle my debt?

Debt settlement often results in a significant reduction in the total value of the debt that you owe. By engaging in the services of a debt settlement company, you may be able to reduce your debts by up to 50%.

However, these companies a percentage of the value of your debt for their services. This can limit your overall savings, but you will probably still end up saving when all is said and done.

Qualifying for debt settlement doesn't require good credit. Actually, most debt settlement companies ask that you stop making payments to your creditors to put you in a better bargaining position. If you have the time and are willing to do the research, you may be able to handle the debt settlement process on your own.

What about bankruptcy?

Finally, as a last resort debt relief option, you can consider bankruptcy. Individuals may qualify for either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, depending on their personal situation. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy will wipe out most debts without you having to repay them.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is considered to be a financial reorganization, and you will need to continue to make payments on certain debts for a period of time.

If you're interested in filing for bankruptcy, it's best to speak with an experienced attorney who can guide you.

Bankruptcy should be seen as the option of last resort because it can significantly impact your ability to obtain credit or qualify for a mortgage for up to ten years. It may also affect your ability to get a job.

Explore these Rhode Island debt relief programs

As a Rhode Islander, you may be entitled to state-specific services that can help you with your financial burdens. Check out these Rhode Island debt relief programs to see if you qualify:

  • Rhode Island Works: A financial and employment assistance program that helps low-income families with children in high school or younger.
  • General Public Assistance: Offers cash assistance to adults (ages 18-64 years old) who have limited income and resources and struggle with an illness or medical condition that prevents them from working.
  • Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP): Provides subsidies to low-income families to offset the cost of child care. Families must work a minimum of 20 hours per week at or above Rhode Island's minimum wage to be eligible.
  • Rental Assistance: Rhode Island has several rental assistance programs to help its residents avoid eviction.
  • Rhode Island Rx Card: All Rhode Island residents are eligible to get pharmacy discounts through this program.
  • Rite Share: Under this program, Rhode Island will pay all or part of the cost for employee health insurance coverage.
  • Private Student Loan Relief: Provides a network of financial counselors who link troubled families with trustworthy agencies for financial assistance with private student loans.

Are you being sued for debt in Rhode Island?

Being the subject of a lawsuit is no one's idea of fun. However, it does happen, and if it happens to you, you'll need to make sure you take the proper steps and respond to the Summons and Complaint in court.

The first step to winning a debt lawsuit is to respond. You can use SoloSuit's free Answer form to respond to your debt lawsuit in minutes. Make sure you answer before the deadline, which is 20 days in Rhode Island.

Watch this video to learn more about how to respond to a debt lawsuit:

What is SoloSuit?

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.

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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