Dealing with Debt Collectors in WV: Your Rights and Options

High interest rates, inflation, and other economic factors are driving an increase in the number of people struggling to pay their debts. Being in debt is a weight that is heavy enough on its own, and the barrage of calls and notices from debt collectors adds to that burden. West Virginia (WV) and the federal government have laws to protect people from harassment and unfair debt-collection practices. For some, bankruptcy may be the best option for relief. Whatever path is right for your situation, it is important to understand your rights when dealing with debt collectors in WV.

Know Your Rights When Dealing with Debt Collectors in WV

In Logan County, WV, almost 50 percent of residents have debt in the collections stage. If you are included in this group, you know all too well the toll it takes on individuals and families. It can feel like there is no way out. However, consumers have rights when it comes to how debt collectors attempt to recover money. Keep reading to learn about federal and West Virginia debt collection laws, your rights, and how bankruptcy may be an option for long-term relief.

Protections When Dealing with Debt Collectors in WV

If you owe debts that have reached the collections stage, it’s essential to know your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and West Virginia debt collection laws. The FDCPA and the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act offer several protections to debtors against harassment and unfair practices by debt collectors.

A distressed woman holds credit cards, representing the burdens of dealing with debt collectors in WV.

Under these laws, debt collectors are prohibited from using abusive or deceptive tactics to recover debts. This includes calling at unreasonable hours, using threatening language, or making false claims about the amount owed.

Collectors also must respect your privacy. They are not allowed to discuss your debt with anyone except you, your spouse, or your attorney. You also have the right to request in writing that a debt collector stop contacting you. If you are working with a bankruptcy lawyer, you can tell collectors to direct their correspondence to your attorney.

Collectors are also required to provide you with verification of your debt. Upon request, a collector must provide written verification of the debt, including the amount owed and the creditor’s name.

In West Virginia, there are also protections that prevent debt collectors from garnishing a large percentage of your wages. WV Code § 46A-2-116 limits the amount that can be garnished from your wages to satisfy a debt to 25 percent of your weekly disposable earnings. This means they can’t take more than 25 percent of the pay you receive after state and federal taxes are deducted.

Debt Collection Rights for Debtors in WV Bankruptcy

While the protections provided by state and federal law offer some relief, getting out of debt altogether is probably your ultimate goal. For some people, bankruptcy offers a path forward. Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows individuals to discharge most of their unsecured debts. It can be a powerful tool for those overwhelmed by financial obligations, offering a fresh start by wiping out debts like credit card balances, medical bills, and personal loans.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be a better option for some people, however. This option allows you to retain assets you own—like your home and vehicle—while paying your debt down in accordance with an agreement.

Upon filing for bankruptcy, an automatic stay is immediately placed on collection activity. This legal injunction halts all debt collection activities, including calls, letters, wage garnishments, and lawsuits related to debt.

If you want to learn more about debt collection rights for debtors in WV bankruptcy or you are considering bankruptcy as an option to manage your debt, Logan, WV bankruptcy lawyer Jason Harwood can help.

How an Attorney Can Help with Bankruptcy and Dealing with Debt Collectors in WV

An experienced bankruptcy attorney can help evaluate whether bankruptcy is the best option for you or if alternatives like debt settlement or consolidation are more suitable. He or she can also assist in dealing with debt collectors, ensuring your rights under the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act and the FDCPA are not violated.

If you choose to file for bankruptcy in WV, an attorney can help ensure that all the required documentation is correctly filed and deadlines are met. If any issues arise, like objections from creditors, your attorney can represent your interests in court.

A skilled bankruptcy lawyer can also help you make the most of WV’s bankruptcy exemptions, protecting as much of your property as possible.

Contact Logan, WV Bankruptcy Lawyer Jason Harwood

Dealing with debt collectors in WV can be challenging, and understanding the effects of bankruptcy is critical before you decide whether to file. Throughout the process, the guidance of an experienced attorney can be invaluable in protecting your rights and assets and paving the way for financial recovery. Contact Logan, WV bankruptcy lawyer Jason Harwood at Harwood Legal, PLLC to discuss your options today by calling 304-752-5015 or by completing this online contact form.