Collectors do have the right to contact you, but with very certain rules and regulations. Going outside of these regulations may be violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)
Abusive or harassing communication practices can be FDCPA violations. While attempting to collect debt, collectors are not authorized to use abusive language. Some examples of abuse or harassment under the FDCPA are as follows:
- The use of profanity while interacting with you
- Threatening violence or other criminal behavior if you do not pay
- Causing your phone to ring continually or spamming your phone
- Threatening to publicize your debts if you do not pay
- Threatening to sell your debt to someone else if you do not pay
2. Discussing Your Debt with Friends and Family
Debt collectors can contact your friends and family but they are very limited in what they can say.
- Debt collectors can ask friends and family for your contact information
- Debt collectors cannot disclose your debt or repayment options to friends and family
- They cannot discuss any part of your debt with anyone except you
3. Attorney Representation
Sometimes, those facing large debts may hire legal counsel to help them make the best choices. If a debt collector knows you have appointed an attorney (or you’ve told them), they may not reach out to you directly.
If they continue to try to contact you directly instead of going through your attorney, this is a FDCPA violation.
4. False Representation
Sometimes, to get the debtor to pay up, collection agencies may lie about who they are or who they represent.
- If the debt collection agency claims it is a law firm (when it is not), this is a FDCPA violation
- If the debt collection agency claims the debt is more than what is actually owed, this is also a violation
If either of the above has happened to you, or you believe it may be happening to you, you should seek legal counsel.
5. Continual Attempts to Collect Debt No Longer Owed
If you experienced a debt a long time ago, but are still getting calls about it, even if it’s paid off, that is not permitted. Same goes if the debt isn’t actually yours.
Both above actions would be FDCPA violations and so legal action would be warranted.
6. Times You Are Contacted
Debt collectors can’t call whenever they feel like it. They must follow a few guidelines:
- Must call you 8AM-9PM local time
- You can request for the collectors not to call you during your work hours, they must adhere to that request
If a collector continues to call you outside of the timeframes above, this is a FDCPA violation.
7. Email and Text Regulations
Although debt collectors may email or text you, there are some rules around it:
- Collectors must include an ‘opt out’ or ‘unsubscribe’ option on each text and email sent
- If you choose to opt-out or unsubscribe, they must stop emails/texts
If you’ve unsubscribed to texts or emails, but continue to receive them, this is a FDPCA violation.
Having debt can be stressful, but it does not mean that collectors can treat you poorly. The FDCPA is there to protect you.
If you have concerns or feel you have been subjected to wrongful actions of a collection agency, reach out to us.