Louisiana Consumer Collection Laws
Louisiana law places some restrictions on how creditors can collect debts and requires debt collectors to be licensed.
Louisiana law restricts who creditors can contact when collecting debts and how often they can contact a debtor who has requested no further communication. In addition, in Louisiana all debt collectors and collection agencies must register with the secretary of state.
Residents of Louisiana are also protected by the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) which prohibits debt collectors from engaging in deceptive and abusive collection practices. The FDCPA protections are much broader than those provided by Louisiana law.
Below you can learn more about the debt collection laws specific to Louisiana.
(If you are struggling to pay your debts, visit Nolo's Debt Management Center.)
The FDCPA prohibits debt collectors from engaging in deceptive, unfair, and abusive conduct, including, but not limited to:
- contacting a consumer known to be represented by an attorney
- communicating with the debtor at unreasonable times
- misrepresenting the nature of the debt or using deception to collect debts
- using abusive or profane language, and
- discussing the debt with a third party such as a neighbor or employer.
The FDCPA applies to third party debt collectors only, not to original creditors. If a debt collector violates the FDCPA, the consumer can sue the debt collector under the act and, if successful, recover actual damages along with other types of damages.
(For details on the FDCPA, visit our Illegal Debt Collection Practices Under the FDCPA topic area.)
Louisiana’s Registration Requirement for Debt Collectors
Under Louisiana law, debt collectors and collection agencies must register with the Louisiana Secretary of State.
Louisiana Laws Regulating the Collection of Debts
Louisiana limits the collection practices of creditors who are attempting to collect debts.
Who Is Subject to the Law?
The law covers creditors and debt collectors. However, for the most part, the FDCPA rules are the same or stricter than the Louisiana laws. Because debt collectors must comply with the more stringent rules of the FDCPA, the Louisiana law is mostly useful when used against creditors collecting their own debts.
The Louisiana law does not cover lawyers licensed in Louisiana.
Limitations on Contacting the Debtor or Others
Louisiana places limits on who a creditor may contact, and how often.
Cannot Contact Anyone Not Living in the Debtor’s Household
The creditor or debt collector cannot contact any person about the debt that is not living or present in the debtor’s household. This means, for example, that the creditor cannot contact the debtor’s employer or neighbor.
Exceptions to the “No Contact” Rule
However, the creditor or debt collector may contact:
- the original creditor
- a credit reporting agency
- any person if the debtor consents to the contact, or
- any person if the purpose of the contact is to ascertain the debtor’s whereabouts if the creditor and believes the debtor has moved or changed employment.
No Contact If the Debtor Requests That the Creditor Cease Communications
If the debtor sends written notice by registered or certified mail requesting that the creditor cease all communication, the creditor must stop communications. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule. The creditor may:
- mail one notice per month.
- make up to four personal contacts with the purpose of settling the debt
- contact any person in order to find out what property the debtor has if the creditor has already gotten a judgment against the debtor
- make an amicable demand for payment
- file a lawsuit for nonpayment, or
- contact others if the debtor gives it permission to do so.
Keep in mind that if you ask a debt collector to stop contacting you, the FDCPA’s restrictions on further communications are much stricter than the Louisiana rules.
Can You Sue for Violations?
You cannot bring a lawsuit based on a violation of this statute. However, you can bring a lawsuit for damages if you can prove another cause of action such as negligence, intentional infliction of harm, or defamation.
The College Campus Credit Card Solicitation Act
Another Louisiana law, the College Campus Credit Card Solicitation Act, places limits on credit card issuers who have credit card contracts with college students. That law prohibits credit card issuers from attempting to collect a college student’s credit card debts from the student’s parents, unless the parents agreed in writing to be liable for the debt.
The Louisiana Commissioner of Financial Institutions may bring a lawsuit against a credit card issuer who violations this act. The credit card issuer may be liable for a fine of up to $1,000 as well as costs and attorneys’ fees incurred by the commissioner.
Getting More Information
The laws governing creditor collections are found in the Louisiana Consumer Credit Code at La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 9:3562. The licensing requirement is found in La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 9:3534.1. The College Campus Credit Card Solicitation Act is found at La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 9:3577.1 and following. To learn how to find state statutes, visit Nolo’s Legal Research Center.