Know Your Rights

Top 10 Laws Debt Collectors Must Comply With

Debt Collection laws can be fairly confusing to the average consumer.  There is plenty of discussion about what a collector can and cannot do and while certain conduct may fall into a grey area, there is a list of actions that clearly fall under the umbrella of prohibited conduct of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA").  Below is a list of 10 things a collector cannot do or say in the process of collecting a debt.

Number 1: 
A debt collector cannot call you at your place of employment after receiving notice that you are prohibited from receiving calls.

If a collector contacts you at work and you notify the collector that you are not allowed to receive calls during business hours, the collector must cease all communication with you at your place of employment…no ifs, ands or buts about it.  A phone call at work after you told the collector not to call you is a violation of the law.

Number 2:
A collector is prohibited from making continuous and repeated calls to you.

A collector cannot continue to contact you in a single day or even multiple times a week.  Multiple calls in a day or week are considered a violation of the FDCPA.

Number 3:
A collector cannot call you early in the morning or late in the evening.

A collector can only place collection calls to you after 8:00 a.m. or before 9:00 p.m.  Any calls outside of these hours is a violation of the statute.

Number 4:
A collector may not use abusive or profane language when communicating with you.

A collector must always speak respectfully when communicating with you in regards to collection of a debt.  Use of obscene or profane language is a violation of the statute. 

Number 5: 
A collector must send your written notification of the debt within five days of the initial verbal communication.

After a collector contacts you, it must send an initial collection letter with the exact amount owed and the name of the original creditor.  This letter must also include a statement notifying you that you have the right to dispute the debt within 30 days.

Number 6:
A debt collector must verify all disputed debts.

In response to a request for validation of a debt, the collector must cease all collection efforts and validate your request to verify the debt.  Contacting you for collection without first validating the legitimacy of the debt is a violation of the FDCPA.

Number 7:
A collector cannot communicate with your family, friends or neighbors.

A collector is prohibited from communicating with your family, friends and neighbors outside of inquiring about your whereabouts and the collector may not disclose any information regarding the debt or even that you owe any debt.

Number 8:
A collector must identify themselves.

A collector cannot misrepresent their true identity.  He or she must notifying you who they are and why they are calling and failure to do so is a violation of the FDCPA.

Number 9:
A collector must disclose the exact amount of the debt owed.

A collector cannot collect any additional amount of money from you that is not part of the original agreement.  While collection agencies can collect fees and interest it must be part of the original agreement. 

Number 10:
A collector must cease all communication with you after receiving a written request to do so.

Upon receipt of a cease and desist letter, a collector must respect your request to no longer contact you unless it is in relation to a legal matter, such as serving you with notice of a lawsuit.

If you believe your rights have been violated under the FDCPA by a debt collector contact SmithMarco P.C. for a free case review.

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