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Home > Law & Legal Topics > Collections Law

» Collections Law:
Collections law is the branch of civil law for enforcing obligations to pay another's claim.

Debt collectors have two primary avenues available to collect unpaid debts, namely, they have the ability to report unpaid debts to the credit reporting bureaus and, in some cases, the ability to take a person's assets.

Debt collection is highly regulated. The Fair Credit Reporting Act provides regulation of the credit reporting process. This Act also provides limited remedies to debtors.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Acts (FDPA) and its state law equivalent provide limitations on the methods debt collectors can use to collect unpaid consumer debts. The FDPA limits debt collectors from taking unreasonable actions to collect unpaid debts and it provides stiff penalties for collectors and creditors who take unreasonable collection actions.

A creditor may also be able to use the court system to collect unpaid debts. This involves a court issuing a judgment against the debtor or his property. The creditor may then obtain a:
  • writ ordering the sheriff to look for non-exempt property, seize it, sell it, and pay proceeds to the judgment creditor;
  • turn over order that compels the debtor to turn over all property he owns or controls (or face the prospect of imprisonment for contempt of court);
  • writ of garnishment to obtain a lien on the debtor's personal property that is in the possession of third parties.
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