Collection Process and Rights
The debt collection process can be difficult to handle. COVID-19 has changed the collection process and consumers have protections and resources to help them through the process. There is information available about the collection process and your rights as consumers.
Maryland has information about dealing with the collection process and rights that Marylanders have during this time.
The Office of Attorney General has a page detailing how Dealing with Debt Collectors.
The People’s Law Library has a page about Debt Collectors and the Law.
Maryland Courts have information about Consumer Debt Cases and COVID- 19.
* Central Collection Unit has information about making payments and the Debtors Portal.
Federal Government Resources
There are also information and resources available from the federal government.
The Federal Trade Commission FTC has a Debt Collection FAQ page that answers questions about the Fair Debt Collection Act.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has information about debt collection, knowing your rights, and what to do when a collector calls.
National Nonprofit Resources
Nonprofit organizations have information to help consumers through the process.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has tips to Protect Your Credit and Know Your Debt Repayment Obligations During a Crisis and Collection Agencies.
The National Consumer Law Center has a page dedicated to Debt Collection.
Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service (MVLS) is partnered with the Consumer Protection Project (CPP) to provide a hotline for people having trouble with consumer debt like:
- Harassment from Creditors
- Income Garnishment
- Lawsuits from Creditors
- Car Repossessions
- Bail Bonds Contracts
Contact the hotline at 443-451-4083 if you have any questions about your debt situation.
Many people are susceptible to scams during this time. There are resources available to people to identify, avoid, and report scams.
The Office of Attorney General has many resources available to help Marylanders avoid scams.
- The Consumer Protection Division publishes the Consumer Guide for Marylanders.
- Complaints can be filed through the Consumer Protection Division at (410) 528- 8662.
- The Office of Attorney General also has documents about Credit Repair and Foreclosure Scams. They have also published two documents to help consumers identify scams directly related to COVID-19.
- Attorney General Frosh Warns Marylanders About Coronavirus Disease 2019 Scams Beware of Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act Scams and Fraud
- Consumer Alert: Tips to Avoid Coronavirus Stimulus Payment Scams
The Office of the Comptroller of Maryland has information about What to do if You Suspect Financial Exploitation and Fighting Financial Fraud. They also have information about protecting elders from financial abuse. They have published Beware of COVID- 19 related Scams and How to Defend Against Future Abuse. The Comptroller has a video on youtube explaining different ways for elders to protect themselves from scammers. This video is a message for PROTECT Week, which is a week focused on financial elder abuse.
The Office of the Comptroller of Maryland can also help you with tax-related identity theft.
Maryland’s Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) has information about foreclosure and mortgage scams on their Avoid Fraud page.
The Office of the Commissioner of Financial Regulation has a way to File a Complaint or Report Fraud against a financial institution or practice.
Federal Government Resources
The federal government provides information about avoiding scams.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has a page on How can I tell a credit repair scam from a reputable credit counselor.
The IRS has released a Dirty Dozen Scams list.
The Federal Trade Commission has a lot of information on consumer protection. They have a page focused on Credit Repair Scams.
The U.S Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has created a page to give information about the Coronavirus and Investment Scams.
National Nonprofit Resources
The Better Business Bureau has information about Credit Repair and Debt Relief Scams and Phony Debt Collection. They have a Scam Tracker, which lets you report a scam in your area and look up scams in your area. The Better Business Bureau also has a way to File a Complaint on a business.
AARP has an entire website dedicated to preventing Scams and Fraud, and they have a podcast called The Perfect Scam.
Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCSMD) has Resources for Suspected Abuse.
Handling Creditors while Facing Hardship
COVID-19 has increased the number of people that are struggling to handle creditors and pay their bills. Creditors can take financial hardships under consideration. The People’s Law Library and The Office of Personnel Management have resources to help draft a letter.
Maryland’s Office of the Commissioner of Financial Regulation has information about Student Loan Relief and Mortgage Relief and Foreclosure Prevention.
Maryland Courts have resources and information for people who owe money or are dealing with debt.
Federal Government Resources
The federal government has information about Dealing with Debt.
Federal Student Aid has more specific information about Coronavirus and Forbearance Info for Students, Borrowers, and Parents.
Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service and Maryland Legal Aid have resources about filing bankruptcies.
Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCSMD) is an organization for anyone facing financial hardships and who is under pressure from creditors and debt collection agencies.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has many resources for adult financial education. This page can give you information about credit, budgeting, and debt. They offer information in document and audio form. There are also worksheets to further help you apply the information.
It is important to know how to track, manage, and monitor your credit. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has information that is important to keep your credit healthy.
You are entitled to one free credit report from each of the credit report companies. It is important to request your credit report, because you may need to fix information that can be harmful to you. The FTC offers information about Free Credit Reports, Disputing Errors on Credit Reports, and Fixing Your Credit.
They also have information about things to consider when Co-signing a Loan.
CFPB has information about Budgeting: How to create a budget and stick with it. This page gives a quick overview of the basics of budgeting and it has tools to make it easier like the
You may find yourself in debt and wanting to use a debt management service provider to help you manage a repayment plan. Maryland’s Department of Labor has information about your rights when choosing a debt management service provider. They also have information and resources about different types of consumer debt like payday loans and repossession.
Verified Financial Service Provider NMLS® Consumer AccessSM is a free service for people to confirm that the financial-services company or professional they want to use is authorized to conduct business in their state.
The Better Business Bureau has information to help people Dealing with Debt During the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The Federal Trade Commission has information about Getting Out of Debt and Coping with Debt.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has a lot of resources on their website to help you manage your debt. They have specific information about Dealing with debt during the coronavirus pandemic.
Resources for Individual or Family Assistance
Below is a resource list for you to consult if you wonder about where you can obtain information about particular issues you are facing:
The BGE Community Resource Guide has information about many resources available for you. It has information on a wide variety of resources like health, housing, legal, and more.
211 is available to provide simple and easy access to health and human services information. You can either dial 2-1-1 or visit their website to get connected to different resources around Maryland.
311 is specific to Baltimore City, and connects people to city specific city services, programs and information. It can be dialed to report about non-emergency issues and complaints related to city services. This service is part of an ongoing effort to make city governments easier and more responsive to the needs of residents, business owners and visitors.
CASA of Maryland is a group of passionate, community-conscious people working to organize, advocate for, and expand opportunities for Latino and immigrant people in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. They provide many resources such as employment placement, workforce development and training, health education, citizenship and legal services, and financial, language, and literacy training to Latino and immigrant communities throughout the states.
CASA’s Maryland COVID-19 Resource & Information Guide
Immigration Advocates Network is focused on expanding access to legal immigration resources and information. They have a list of organizations that can provide legal help to immigrants.
Maryland Community Action Partnership is committed to monitoring the coronavirus and its impact very carefully and providing updates as frequently as possible. This resource center will offer information from federal, state and local information and guidance.
Civil Justice offers legal help to Marylanders with foreclosure, auto repossessions and landlord/tenant issues. They can also provide help with other legal issues.
Community Mediation Maryland offers free mediation centers throughout Maryland. Mediation is a conflict resolution process in which mediators help participants have a difficult conversation, get clear about what’s important to everyone, and make decisions that meet the needs of those involved. In mediation, people speak for themselves and make their own decisions.
FreeState Justice is a legal advocacy organization that seeks to improve the lives of low-income lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersexual and asexual (“LGBTQIA”) Marylanders. Currently, FreeState Justice is providing legal help to people with name changes, gender marker changes, and employment discrimination.
Homeless Persons Representation Center’s mission is to end homelessness in Maryland by providing free legal services, including advice, counsel, education, representation and advocacy, for low-income persons who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
Maryland Courts Self-Help Center provides free limited legal services for people who are not represented by a lawyer. This includes a wide range of cases like family, housing, and more.
Maryland Legal Aid provides a full range of free civil legal services to financially eligible individuals from 12 office locations. Maryland Legal Aid’s work helps to protect peoples’ basic needs and human rights.
Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service provides pro bono legal help to Marylanders with limited income in civil legal matters. Eligible clients are matched with a volunteer lawyer who has the skill and expertise to provide quality legal representation.
Pro Bono Resource Center does not provide lawyers for individuals but holds legal clinics on issues such as its Maryland Immigrant Legal Assistance Project, Home Preservation Project and Free Legal Answers program.
The Public Justice Center offers legal help to people experiencing problems related to COVID-19, housing, homelessness, employment, and school related issues.
The Women’s Law Center of Maryland provides legal help to women in the areas of domestic violence, immigration remedies, family law, and employment law.
Here is a list of all approved legal service providers in Maryland.
The Department of Human Services offers energy assistance if you are having trouble affording your utility or heating bill. You do not need a turn off notice to qualify for assistance. The Office of Home Energy Programs strongly encourages you to apply for assistance before you receive a turn-off notice so that funds can be applied to your account as soon as possible.
The Department of Human Services also has Other Energy Assistance Programs to Help with utility costs.
The Office of People’s Counsel is a part of the state government that represents Maryland’s residents in the area of utility services like electricity, natural gas, telecommunications and private water. They do not provide assistance for bills, but they can give you a referral to an organization that can help.
Maryland Assistance Programs has a list of programs and resources available through The Department of Human Services and other Maryland departments.
COVID-19 Resources for Maryland Schools and School Meal Site Locator are important resources for parents or guardians with children. The Maryland State Department of Education provided guidance, resources and updates for Maryland schools and communities.
The Maryland Hospital Association has several resources available to help you understand your health, to navigate Maryland’s health care system, and have access to affordable healthcare.
Seeking Help Now?
Contact the Maryland Court Help Centers
This site offers legal information, not legal advice, hopefully, it will give some guidance on steps you can take when you have been sued. We make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information and to clearly explain your options. However, we do not provide legal advice – the application of the law to your individual circumstances. For legal advice, you should consult the self-help center or an attorney.