Debt Collection Rules under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

Many people across the nation have had to deal with a debt collection company at some point in their lives. The debt collection industry has been reprimanded numerous times in recent years for forceful collection practices and many people are now aware that they can report aggressive collectors and companies to the Better Business Bureau for actions that qualify as harassment. The Federal Trade Commission of the United States Government has passed the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act that details the rights of people that are contacted by a debt collection company and lists what constitutes aggressive actions.

Debtor Contact

The hours in which the debt collection company is allowed to contact a debtor are spelled out in the document. Debt collection companies are not allowed to contact debtors after 9 o’clock at night or before 8 o’clock in the morning. Debt collection companies must adhere to these time constraints unless they receive permission from the debtor to contact them outside of these times.

Employment Interference

The actions of the debt collection company are not allowed to interfere with the debtor’s employment and this includes calling the debtor at work when their boss disapproves of the contact. If collection company repeatedly contacts the debtor at work knowing that it could affect their employment, they could face sanctions from the Federal Trade Commission. Other actions that are prohibited include using obscene or profane language when talking to the debtor, threatening violence or harm, or state that the debtor will be arrested for not paying the debt.

Written Notification

If a debt collector contacts the debtor to tell the debtor that the debtor owe money to the company, within five days of the initial contact, the debt collector must send a written notice describing the debt, listing the amount owed, and disclosing the steps that can be taken by the debtor if they believe that they do not owe the debt. The company is forbidden to misrepresent who they are by claiming to be an attorney or from the credit bureau and cannot misrepresent documents sent to the debtor as legal documents if they are not.

Cease And Desist Requests

People that are being contacted by aggressive debt collectors repeatedly can have the calls stopped by submitting a written request to the debt collection company requesting that they stop all contact. Once the request has been received by the debt collection company, they cannot contact the debtor for any reason other than to tell the debtor that their letter has been received and they will no longer contact the debtor. Stopping the collection company from contacting the debtor does not erase the debt that is owed and the collection company may decide to sue in court.