Credit and Bankruptcy Law

Debt Collectors and the Law

Are there limitations when debt collectors can call consumers?

Yes, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act provides that debt collectors cannot contact consumers “at any unusual time or place known or which should be known to be inconvenient to the consumer.” It establishes as a default rule that debtors should confine their debt calls to between 8:00 AM and 9:00 PM. Debt collectors can call a person if they have “the prior consent of the consumer.”

The debt collector also cannot contact a consumer at the person’s place of employment “if the debt collector knows or has reason to know that the consumer’s employer prohibits the consumer from receiving such communication.” Debt collectors also should not contact a consumer if they know or have reason to know that the debtor is represented by an attorney with respect to that debt.

Debt collectors can only contact you in person with your specific permission, and they cannot harass you with phone calls at odd hours or use abusive language on the phone. A good option for avoiding debt collectors is to work closely with a financial advisor who can negotiate on your behalf (iStock).

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