The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) makes it illegal for debt collectors to use abusive, unfair, or deceptive practices when they collect debt – and it’s enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FDCPA does NOT regulate creditors or their internal collections departments, only collection agencies or lawyers who perform collection functions.
|What are debt collectors not allowed to do?||
|What types of debt are covered?||
|How can you be contacted by a collector?||
|When can a debt collector contact me?||
Collectors can’t contact you before 8am or after 9pm, unless you agree to it. They can’t contact you at work if you tell them not to.
|Can I tell a debt collector to stop contacting me?||
Yes. You can send a letter by mail asking the collector to stop. In order to have a record of it, send it by certified mail with a return receipt. You may want to talk to a collector at least once to confirm whether it’s your debt or not. If it is your debt, you can find out more information about it.
If an attorney is representing you, inform the collector. The collector must then communicate with your attorney, not you, unless your attorney fails to respond.
|What does the debt collector have to tell me about the debt?||
Within five days of first contacting you, a collector must send you a written Validation Notice stating:
|Can a debt collector contact other people about my debt?||
A collector can’t discuss your debt with anyone but you, your spouse, or an attorney if one is representing you. Other people can be contracted to find out information such as your address, home phone number, and where you work.
|Is there a statute of limitations on debt?||
Yes, but it depends on what kind of debt it is and the laws in your state or the state specified in your credit contract.
|Is there anything I can do if I think the debt collector has broken the law?||
Violations should be reported to the FTC at 877.382.4357. A collector can be fined up to $1,000 for each violation. You can sue a collector directly up to one year from the time of the alleged violation.