Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick signed new regulations on Saturday that will make it tougher for debt collectors to seize personal and financial assets from individuals, the Boston Globe reports.
Old allowances permitted individuals to retain $700 against a car's value and $500 in their personal bank accounts. The new law will allow car owners to retain $7,500 from debt collectors - $15,000 for those over 60 or disabled - while individuals can protect $2,500 in their bank accounts. Individuals can retain higher value for rent and utilities, in addition to personal items such as furniture, books, work tools and other household equipment. "This legislation is a victory in a long endeavor to secure protection, not for corporate America, but for the struggling families in Massachusetts who face uncertain and difficult economic times," said Alex Mitchell-Munevar, a staff attorney for Greater Boston Legal Services. The new laws, which go into effect on April 7, should decrease emboldened collectors who use skip tracing
practices to track down defaulted consumers, while protecting basic personal wealth and future evictions. The average Massachusetts credit card holder possesses slightly more than $7,500 in debt, according to PlasticEconomy.com.