California is the most populous state in the U.S., which is then not surprising that the Golden State also leads the nation in debt.
California has a long history with wealth and money – be it boom or bust. Annexed as a state in 1850 coincided with the height of the California Gold Rush when nearly half a million adventurous pioneers headed west to seek the promise of gold and silver fortunes. While many hit the jackpot, many more suffered the bad luck of being late to the party or being pushed out by territorial mining towns.
The collateral economic result of the sudden spike in population was the advent of industrial growth that benefitted a new, booming economy. California’s shipping, construction and agriculture industries skyrocketed contributing to California’s expansive economy.
Today, California remains one of the most progressive states – both politically and economically. San Francisco and the Silicon Valley in Northern California are home to many technology titans. Hollywood makes movies and movie stars. Napa Valley bottles award-winning wines. Sacramento and the Central Coast is one of the prime agricultural spots in America growing everything from berries to avocados. Of course, Los Angeles remains a cultural hub from everything sports to celebrity to fashion and food related.
California also boasts some of the country’s most renowned universities, including University of Southern California, UCLA, Stanford, Cal Berkley and the California Institute of Technology.
Off campus, California boasts many of the world’s most beautiful landscapes. From the sprawling Sequoias in the north to the marvels of Yosemite National Park to the pristine beaches spanning from Southern California all the way down to San Diego.
But, with all that resplendence, California still has its issues, especially when it comes to debt.
California’s Overall Debt Situation
California wins the dubious prize of being the most indebted state in the nation. Currently, the state’s outstanding debt eclipsed $152 billion. On the bright side, California is also the wealthiest state with $2.8 billion in Gross Domestic Product which only exacerbates the state’s burden of debt.
The average household in California shoulders $10,175 in credit card debt. When it comes to loans, the average Californian borrower owes $34,681. Private student loans have surpassed $131 billion. The outlook is also looking grim for those numbers to reside any time soon. California’s total credit card debt recently skyrocketed by nearly $125 million raising its overall state credit card debt ceiling to $4.4 billion, which was by far the highest debt increase for a quarter in the nation.
California Fast Facts
- Population: 39,536,653
- Median Household Income: $75,277
- Average Credit Score: 661.4 (national average is 669)
- Average Credit Card Debt: $5,196
- Average Student Loan Debt: $28,950
- State Debt Total: $152.8 billion
- Gross Domestic Product: $2.8 billion
- Poverty Rate: 15.1%
Debt Relief Laws That Protect Californians
Disclaimer: The information shared herein is intended to be a free resource for California consumers looking to dismiss debt and does not constitute legal advice.
Whether battling credit card debt, medical debt or private student loan debt, California has long been known for passing laws that aggressively protect its citizens. Currently, the state has specific laws in effect that work separately and/or in tandem with existing federal laws to ensure consumer safety and satisfaction when dealing with debt issues that may even help you get out of debt.
If you are embroiled in a deepening debt situation in California, Resolvly can help find you an expert team of debt resolution and defense lawyers to help resolve and even dismiss your debt as soon as possible.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
There are many ways to fight harassing debt collectors and avoid or defend a debt lawsuit. In one case, every consumer has specific rights invoking the federal laws outlined in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
The FDCPA as it relates to California residents specifies exactly what a third-party debt collection service can and cannot do. For example, a collector can only call an individual between the local hours of 8am and 9pm. In addition, there are several clauses within the FDCPA that protect Californians from what is considered harassing collector activities.
Collectors, by law, cannot threaten a citizen with bodily harm or the potential of arrest. In addition, the usage of lying tactics or profane language on behalf of the collector may also be judged illegal as well as the verbal threat of a debt lawsuit.
Californians in debt also have the ability to stop collectors from repeat callings by sending a physical letter to the agency requesting a cease and desist from the pestering calls. Certifying the missive is a good idea to ensure proof of delivery.
A bill collector may call a friend or family member of the debtor if the agency does not have accurate contact information for the principle party. However, in attempting to get up-to-date contact info on the debtor, any individual other than the debtor can only be called once. A second call to the same non-debtor individual will violate the FDCPA. On top of that, when a third party individual is contacted, the collector cannot share or reveal any details about the debt nor can they even reveal that they are, in fact, a debt-collection service.
If the FDCPA is violated, a debt resolution service agency can find you debt defense attorneys who could potentially file a suit against the debt-collection company where the debtor may sue for damages and attorney fees.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act
Another consumer protection law designed to assist California residents from false or misleading credit information is the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The FCRA protects the privacy and accuracy of your personal credit history contained in reports housed by a credit bureau. The law protects individuals from false or misleading information that could harm their personal credit rating or, worse, propel them into a debt lawsuit. If an entity violates your rights outlined in the FCRA, there are legal actions that could not only dismiss debt, but earn monetary damages in addition to the recoupment of attorneys’ fees.
California/Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
The California/Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act provides the same provisions as the FDCPA, with even tighter restrictions on harassment by a debt collector or the dissemination of misleading information to a debtor. In addition, the FDCPA laws apply only to a third-party, hired debt collector and does not pertain to the original creditor’s collection behavior and activity. The California amendment to this law does make the original creditor equally as responsible and liable for malfeasance thus adding an extra layer of consumer protection.
California’s Statute of Limitations
Four years is the statute of limitations in California for all, non-oral debts. In the case of contracts made orally, the statute of limitations is two years. So, in the case of credit card debt, a lender cannot attempt to collect any debt that exceeds four years past due. California’s statute time period is among the shortest in the U.S. while there are some states that can have a limitation time frame as long as 15 years.
The one area where Californians should be cautious is when they open new credit card accounts. California law does not limit what issuers can charge for such “hidden fees” as automated teller transactions, cash overages or advances, as well as fees to stop payments or transactions. As with any contract, reading and understanding the fine print will help avoid sudden mounting fees that could send the cardholder deeper into debt.
Let Resolvly Find The Right Consumer Defense Lawyer
When it comes to dealing with debt, whether medical debt or credit card debt, time is of the essence and ignoring the mounting bills will only increase at a very rapid rate. Stop creditor harassment and get help with your debt today. Utilizing the legal resources of Resolvly, we can help you hire a lawyer to get out of debt by helping you understand your specific circumstances, and clear the path to debt relief and debt resolution.
We work with consumer protection lawyers trained in debt relief to protect your rights, defend your debt position and fight harassing debt collectors.
Resolvly helps you hire a lawyer to resolve your debt. Our goal is to help you attain true financial freedom. We offer a free consultation designed to refer you to a consumer defense attorney who will work to eliminate your debt. Simply call 844-479-3457 to speak with a debt freedom specialist who will help guide you on the path toward debt resolution so you can once again be debt free.