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Arizona lawmakers set new standards for debt collection

Mar 25, 2011 Kyle Duncan

There are mixed feelings among consumers with vast amounts of credit card debt after the Arizona state Senate set new standards for debt collection rules, the Yuma Sun reports.
 On Wednesday, the Arizona Senate voted in favor of extending the amount of time debt collectors have in retrieving owed funds. Moving forward, collection agents will have six years to recover credit card debt, rather than three years. State Representative Jim Weiers told the paper that the bill arrived after justices of the peace could not agree on the proper length of statute of limitations in debt collection. Under the previous guidelines, justices of the peace were offering inconsistent decisions as to whether they should dismiss a collection case after three years. He also said the extended period will give borrowers a better chance at negotiating a more favorable settlement. State Senator Paula Aboud says the new bill helps consumers because it does not favor the banks that issued the credit. However, state Senate Minority Leader David Schapira says the bill only hurts consumers because it gives collection agencies a larger window to pursue their cases. Schapira says that the state government should voice greater support for those assuming debt. He told the Yuma Sun that debtors who have not been sued for recovery after three years should be "off the hook." The decision was rebuffed by Senator Ron Gould, who believes that borrowers should be held accountable for their large debts. He states that by giving them an additional three years, consumers may be more willing to avoid payments. "We need to remember on credit card debt that no one held a gun to people's heads to make them run up this debt. This is money that is owed to people," Gould told the Sun. Neighboring Nevada is also debating changes to its debt collection system, according to the Las Vegas Sun. Homeowners in the state argue that collection agencies are overstepping their bounds when it comes to pursuing cases. That has resulted in a spike in lawsuits. In response, the Nevada Financial Institutions Division limited collecting to only nine months of assessments. Recently, the Nevada Senate Judiciary Committee introduced two bills that would place limits on collection fees accumulated by homeowners associations. It would limit the amount these associations can charge when seeking payments.