For Consumers

There are more than 1 billion credit cards in our country today, with Americans carrying roughly $8400 of debt on average. This could take 30 years for the average individual to pay off. Dealing with debt and credit issues can be an emotional, and often uncomfortable process. But, it doesn’t need to be.

As an industry, third party debt collection is committed to treating each consumer with dignity and respect, along with offering solutions that benefit both the consumer and the creditor.

As a consumer, you have rights that protect you under state debt collection laws, as well as under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). By understanding the facts, you will be empowered to help yourself cope with your collection concerns and solve your debt problems.

Collect the Truth wants to be a resource to you. We’re answering some of the most common consumer questions, and hopefully shedding a little more light on what you might not know about third party collection and consumer rights.

To learn more, you may also visit www.consumerfinance.gov for more information from the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which offers education, resources, and assistance regarding financial products and services.

FAQ

Collection Calls

How Can I Get a Debt Collector to Stop Calling Me?

Under the FDCPA, you may send a letter to a collector requesting that all collection calls cease. But in order for this request to be effective, it must be in writing. Once the request is received by the collector, the collector may only contact you once more to inform you that collection efforts will cease, or they can contact you to notify you of the specific remedies the collector or creditor may use to collect the debt from you. These remedies may include filing a lawsuit to collect the debt or pursuing wage garnishment.

How Many Times Per Week Can a Collector Call Me?

The FDCPA prohibits a collector from calling repeatedly or continuously so as to be annoying, harassing or abusive. However, neither the FDCPA nor previous court decisions have specifically defined how many calls constitute harassment. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enforces the FDCPA and has provided some insight on what may constitute harassment. For instance, the FTC says a consumer is called “continuously” if he or she receives a series of collection calls, one right after another.

When Can a Collector Call Me?

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) assumes convenient times to contact you are after 8 a.m. and before 9 p.m. in your time zone. However, if those times are inconvenient, you can communicate that to the caller and arrange a different time. A debt collector is allowed to contact you on any day of the week, Sundays and holidays included, unless you tell them not to call. Again, you must state verbally or in writing that you do not want to be contacted on a particular day of the week or a particular holiday.

Can a Collector Call Me at Work?

A debt collector may contact you at work unless you inform the debt collector that doing so is inconvenient for you. Debt collectors must comply with your written or verbal request to be contacted elsewhere, such as your home phone or your cell phone.

What Can I Do if I Feel Like I am Being Called Inappropriately?

The FDCPA clearly prohibits debt collectors from calling you with excessive frequency, or at any unusual time or place that is known or should be known to be inconvenient for you. Therefore, it is very important that, if you receive collection calls at a time or place that is inconvenient, you communicate this problem to the collection caller. The collector then has a legal responsibility not to contact you during those times or at those places. Your request does not have to be in writing to be effective. Collectors must obey your verbal request not to be contacted at certain times. However, you must be prepared to offer times when you are available to speak to the collector. Remember that communication is the best way to resolve collection matters.

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