Overview of Laws Regulating Debt Collection Activities

These laws govern the collection of "consumer debts", as opposed to business debts.

Consumer debts are claims arising out of the purchase, lease or loan of goods or services or as a result of an extension of credit obtained primarily for personal, family or household purposes. Generally, Pennsylvania law regulates the activity of a creditor or the party to whom the debt was originally owed. Both Federal and Pennsylvania law regulates the activities of other parties involved in the collection process, such as collection agents, debt buyers, attorneys and some mortgage servicers.

Not only people having difficulty paying their bills have fallen victim to illegal collection activities. Often people are intimidated or tricked into paying either more on debts than they actually owe or debts for which they are not responsible. This can result when a creditor or collector attempts to get someone other than the person liable for the debt to make payment (such as the parent of a young adult) or when fees, costs or other illegal charges are added on to the debt that is being collected.

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