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The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act prohibits debt collectors from the following:

  • Misrepresenting the amount that you owe: the debt collector is prohibited from asking you to pay any extra interest, fees, or expenses that are not allowed by law or stipulated as part of your debt agreement. The collector can’t add on any extra fees that your original credit or loan agreement doesn’t allow simply because they feel like it.
  • Calling you repeatedly or continuously: The FDCPA considers repeat calls or calls in the excess of 7 times a day as harassment.
  • Using obscene, profane, or abusive language while over the phone with you: A debt collector cannot insult, demean, abuse, or threaten you during an attempt to collect a debt. Doing so will be a violation of your FDCPA rights and may entitle you to compensation.
  • Calling before 8:00 am or after 9:00 pm: 8:00 am is generally considered to be the start of the business day. If a debt collector is calling you extremely early (before the business day starts) or extremely late (after the day ends), you may have a valid case of debt collector harassment.
  • Calling at times that are inconvenient: If, for example, you are unable to receive calls at work, you should let the debt collector know. If they still call you during those times regardless of the information you have provided, you may have a right to sue for harassment.
  • Threatening to use violence, the courts, or the police: Collectors can’t threaten violence against you. They are also prohibited from threatening you with legal action they do not intend to take or with arrest and jail time. Report them immediately by calling (866) 803-1071.
  • Threatening you with an action they cannot or will not take: Collectors can’t threaten to sue or file charges against you, garnish wages, take your property, cause job loss, or ruin your credit when they cannot or do not intend to take the action. Doing so is a violation of your FDCPA rights.
  • Illegally informing a third party about your alleged debt: Unless you have given permission, collectors are not allowed to inform anyone about the existence or status of your debt except:
  • The original creditor
    • Your Attorney
    • The creditor’s attorney
    • A credit reporting agency
    • Your spouse
    • Your co-signor
    • Your parent(s) (if you are 17 or younger)
  • Repeatedly calling a third party to get your location information: The collector can only contact a third party once unless they have reason to believe the information previously provided is false. They are also not allowed to disclose the existence or status of your debt to a third party.
  • Failing to send a written debt validation notice: Within five days from the day you received the collector’s initial call, they are required to send you a written notice or validation that the debt is yours. This notice should include the amount of the debt, the name of the creditor to whom the original bill is owed, and a notice of your right to dispute the debt within 30 days.
  • Ignoring your written request to verify the debt: A collector can’t proceed with collection efforts after you have sent a written request to dispute or verify the debt if the request was made within 30 days of the collector’s written notice.
  • Continuing collection attempts before providing debt verification: After receiving your written dispute or request for further verification, all collection efforts must be ceased until you have received written verification as requested.
  • Continuing collection attempts after receiving a cease communication notice: If you make a written request for the collector to cease communication (legally known as a cease-and-desist letter), they can only contact you one more time via mail to let you know one of the following:
  1. They have received your request and further efforts to collect the debt are terminated (note that this does not mean that you no longer owe the debt.)
    ii. That certain actions may be taken by the collector.
    iii. That the collector is definitely going to take certain actions.

Your Right to Dispute the Debt

The debt collector is obligated to inform you about your right to dispute the debt (failing to do so is a violation of your FDCPA rights) in the debt validation letter that they send to you five days after their initial contact.

Once you receive this letter, you can dispute the debt by sending a letter back to the collection agency asking for further verification of the debt and details confirming that the debt is indeed yours. The debt collector is required to respond and cease all communication with you during the period within which the debt is being verified.

Please note that you are required to dispute the debt within 30 days of receiving a debt validation letter.

Overall, the FDCPA serves as a vital tool in protecting consumers from abusive and unfair debt collection practices, ensuring that they are treated fairly and respectfully throughout the debt collection process.

Our attorney has more than 14 years of experience with fighting debt collection agencies, visit his profile page here, attorney profile.

  • There are absolutely no legal fees that you will ever be responsible for.
  • Under the FDCPA the collection agency is liable for attorney fees. 
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