Do online payday loan have the right to debit your account after two years of nonpayment?
As long as there is an outstanding amount due on your loan, the company will try to debit your account to recover the money owed. Being that this is an online payday loan, this is probably their only way of recovering the amount that they lent to you. Lenders can pursue collections till the statute of limitations expires (the statutes vary from state to state, you can check for your state laws at State Consumer Protection Laws and Exemptions).
Handling a payday loan is difficult. The biggest challenge is to take charge of the situation and create a solid game-plan, especially since the payday loan cycle is so expensive. Here is some general information about payday loans that might be of help to you.
These small loans, also called "cash advance loans," "check advance loans," or "deferred deposit check loans," are a frequent pitfall for consumers. A fee anywhere from $15-$30 per $100 borrowed is charged for an average loan of $300. The borrower will give the lender a post-dated check, which the lender later uses to electronically transfer a payment or the entire balance of the loan from the borrowers account.
An especially insidious practice is to withdraw a partial payment from the account as a "customer service." This partial payment becomes a perpetual installment that continues despite the borrowers' best efforts to halt it.
With rates so high and the term of the loan so short there is no wonder that a very high percentage of these loans are rolled over by the borrower again and again so that the accumulated fees equal an effective annualized interest rate of 390% to 780% APR depending on the number of times the principal is rolled. The Federal Trade Commission offers a great Web page regarding payday loan alternatives.
A payday lender may attempt to collect the balance itself. If the borrower defaults, the payday lender may sell the debt to a collection agent, which we discuss later. If the payday lender (or collection agency, for that matter) cannot convince you to pay through standard collection tactics, such as phone calls and letters, the payday lender may decide to file a lawsuit against you to obtain a judgment for the balance of the debt. If the lender sues and obtains a judgment against you, it can then take steps to enforce the judgment as allowed by your state law in civil court. The most common methods of enforcing a judgment are wage garnishment, bank account levies, and property liens.
Note that not on this list of enforcement actions are calling your employer, contacting your neighbors, or getting a warrant for your arrest. Failing to repay a debt is a civil matter and not criminal. A common threat many payday lenders use is arrest for check fraud: This is a groundless threat unless the payday lender has evidence to prove the borrower never intended to repay the payday loan. Proving that is very difficult. Remember, no one has been arrested or imprisoned for debt in the United States since the Civil War.
To learn more about debt collection laws in your state, see the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse Debt Collection Law Guide. If the payday loan company sells an account to a collection agent, the borrower is now obligated to repay the balance to the collection agent. A federal law called the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) states that a third party collection agent must stop calling you if you notify them in writing to do so. Several states, such as California, New York, and Texas, extend many of the regulations in the FDCPA to cover original creditors as well. See "Advice If You're Being Harassed by a Collection Agent" to learn what actions you can take if you believe a collection agent is violating the FDCPA.
If the payday loan company sells the account to a collection agent, the debtor can stop the telephone calls by sending a cease communication demand letter, commonly called a cease and desist notice, to the collection agent. (See the Bills.com debt self-help center for sample cease-and-desist letters.)
Many payday loan collectors use intimidation to strike fear into borrowers. Just because a person is in debt does not mean that person loses their rights as a consumer. As mentioned above, many payday lenders require borrowers to provide their checking account numbers so that payments can be withdrawn from the borrowers' accounts automatically using the Automated Clearing House (ACH).
In instances where the borrower accounts lack sufficient funds, the payday lender will continue to attempt withdrawals. This may create overdraft charges for the borrower, and if done often enough, the bank may close the borrower's account. One common tactic to deal with payday lenders who repeatedly withdraw funds from a borrower's account is for the borrower to close the account and reopen another at the same bank.
This is effective unless the bank links all transactions from the old account to the new one. If that happens, when the payday lender makes a withdrawal, the bank simply reaches into the new account to remove the funds. The lesson here is to make sure the bank does not allow electronic withdrawals from the old account to be transferred automatically to the new account. Once the account is closed, the borrower can create and negotiate a repayment plan with the lender. There are eight states whose payday loan regulating statutes requires lenders to set up an installment repayment plan if an account reaches the maximum number of rollovers allowed by law and the debtor declares that he/she is unable to pay the balance due.
Check out the payday loan information from the Consumer Federation of America for payday loan information, where you will be able to read all about payday loans and the various state attempts to regulate them. Follow the "state information" link to find out the specific regulations for payday lenders in your state, and if you live in one of the eight states requiring installment payments. If your state does require repayment plans, and the lender still will not accept a payment plan, call your states regulator of payday loans, usually an assistant Attorney General, and complain. You should get the results you want after the Attorney General's office becomes involved.
If you are not in one of those states, consider simply making payments to the lender anyway to pay down the balance of the loan over time. In most states, the rollover limit will soon be reached, and the interest rate the lender can charge will be capped by state law. If the lender will not accept your payments, simply put what you can afford aside until you have enough money to either payoff the loan or to offer a settlement.
To learn more about tactics and strategies for dealing with creditors, read the Bills.com article Debt Negotiation and Settlement Advice.
Bills.com also offers more information on the Payday Loan Information page, and has answered reader questions about payday loans in California, Massachusetts, Missouri, Florida, Texas, Illinois, and Virginia.
If you do not repay a payday loan, the payday loan company has several legal remedies, including wage garnishment, levy, and lien. See the Bills.com resource Collections Advice to learn more about the rights of creditors and debtors.
See also the free Bills.com Financial Planning and Budget Guide, which can help you manage your finances and you can learn about budgeting and prudent financial management.
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