Are you struggling with debt? Have you received threatening phone calls or letters? You need to know what debt collectors can and cannot do. Thankfully, The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) has set rules for what debt collectors are allowed to do.

What The FDCPA Says About Phone Calls & Written Communication:

Phone Calls

  • Debt collectors can call only between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.
  • You can be called at work, but collectors must stop if you tell them your boss does not approve.

Written Communications

  • Within five days of contacting you by the phone, the debt collector must send you a letter telling you the amount you owe. This letter must include the name of the creditor you allegedly owe it to and instructions for disputing if you don’t believe the debt is yours.
  • If you get a collection call, log the date on your calendar and start looking for that letter.

What You Can Do

  • To protect yourself, keep copies of letters, logs of calls, canceled checks or other documents relating to the account and plan to keep them for years. 
  • Always ask for the name of the person who is calling you.
  • You can write to the collection agency to demand that they stop calling you at home. A creditor could choose to note the debt on your credit report or get a court judgment against you.
  • If the debt is not yours, you should let the collection agency know. Follow up by writing a letter to that agency. In the letter, explain the error and provide any/all evidence you have that the debt is not yours. This provides you with a dated record of the request in case any problems later arise.
  • Suspect a debt collector has violated the law? Complain to both the Federal Trade Commission and to your Attorney General; you can also go to court.
  • Speak with a bankruptcy attorney to learn about how filing for bankruptcy will end debt collector communications.

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