Everything you need to know about Colorado debt collection laws
Live in Colorado and deal with aggressive collectors who, you think, have crossed the line? Then, you need a plan of defense.
This article will outline the critical components of Colorado debt collection laws and how they may be applicable to you.
You’ll learn exactly how long collectors can pursue you, what rights you enjoy in the state of Colorado, and, as important, effective solutions you can start employing today to eliminate your debt.
Colorado debt collection laws: Statute of limitations
Typically, the statute of limitations for debt collection in Colorado falls within four broad categories. These categories have a limit of either three or six years, although some exceptions exist.
|Type of Debt
- On-account debt refers to mortgages, credit cards, medical expenses, and other similar obligations
- Unique among most debts in Colorado, auto loans in the state have a four-year statute of limitations
- Any oral or written contract that doesn’t meet the definition of on-account debt has a shorter statute of limitations of three years
- For District Court judgment-backed debts, the statute of limitations extends to 20 years
Before assuming your statute of limitations has passed, confirm with state authorities or a debt professional with knowledge of Colorado laws.
Fair debt collection practices in Colorado
The Colorado Fair Debt Collection Practices Act outlines in detail the actions debt collectors and collection agencies can undertake in the state.
Scope & rights
The act applies specifically to debt collectors and collection agencies. It does not, however, apply to creditors collecting personal debts.
The act gives Colorado consumers specific rights while simultaneously imposing restrictions on what practices collectors can employ.
The act strictly prohibits collector action in several important ways, including:
- They cannot threaten or harass debtors
- They cannot unnecessarily disclose details of the debt to those not obligated to pay it
- They cannot mislead borrowers; for example, collectors are prohibited from sending written communication that falsely mirrors official, authorized documents, like notes from the court or the state of Colorado
- Collectors cannot collect medical debt in Colorado while health insurance appeals are ongoing—this ensures individuals first have the chance to find a resolution with insurance providers
Colorado debt collection laws: How to respond to collections
Should you receive a debt collection summons, you have 21 days to file your response under Colorado law.
Here are some of the main actions you should take following the receipt of the summons.
- Determine whether you want to immediately enlist the services of a debt professional, like an attorney with knowledge of Colorado debt law
- Confirm the debt in question belongs to you
- Make sure the debt has not passed the statute of limitations under Colorado law—if it has, the creditor has no right to initiate the suit
Finally, prepare an answer defending yourself against the suit; for example, the response might include one or more of the following:
- You were not informed of your rights as a cosigner of the debt
- The debt has already been paid off
- The obligation does not belong to you
- The debt is time-barred (past the statute of limitations)
Colorado debt relief solutions
Understanding Colorado law and consumer rights is one way to fight against aggressive debt collectors. Another way is indirect: tackling your debt balance once and for all.
If you’re serious about financial freedom, consider whether any of the solutions below might be suitable.
Do it yourself (DIY)
A DYI approach to debt relief is the obvious place to start. It involves standard budgeting and expense tracking but can also take on more sophisticated forms.
For example, many people have success with popular protocols like the debt snowball method.
This is a strategy that recognizes the importance of human psychology in debt management. It prioritizes tackling the smallest debts first as a way to gain small wins, build momentum, and maintain motivation until the debt is cleared.
For many debtors, a DIY approach is intimidating and unproductive. Instead, debt counseling can offer them a viable pathway to freedom.
Also known as credit counseling, debt counseling is a service that helps debtors regain financial freedom by helping produce and maintain a budget, providing money management advice, and sharing educational resources, among other services.
Debt settlement is when a debtor negotiates with creditors to secure a lower amount than is currently owed. While this can be done directly as a DIY service, it’s common for debtors to utilize the services of a professional debt settlement company.
Debt consolidation involves combining multiple debt obligations into one. A common form of debt consolidation is balance transfer credit cards. This entails transferring multiple card balances to a new one with a more favorable rate.
In fact, it’s not uncommon for some credit card issuers to attract new customers with 0% APR for 12 to 18 months.
But understand the consequences of this strategy.
If the interest rate on the new credit card surges following the introductory period, you may find yourself worse off.
It’s usually best for those debtors prepared to aggressively pay down their balance during the promotional period.
The final and most severe debt relief solution is bankruptcy. While it can feel like defeat and sometimes seen as taboo, it can also be an effective strategy to use once all other avenues have been exhausted.
Usually, a declaration of bankruptcy is limited to debtors with overwhelming debt. That is, people who cannot make minimum monthly payments and have no prospects for improvement in the near future.
For these individuals, a fresh financial start after declaring bankruptcy can provide life-changing relief.