Federal Law Prevents Debt Harassment

Collection calls are near the top of many people’s most-hated list – bringing on a feeling of dread every time the phone rings of being confronted about an embarrassing situation of missed payments. The potential confrontation keeps them awake at night and makes life even more stressful. Thankfully, the Federal Trade Commission took the matter in hand and developed rules that collectors must follow. Called the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), the legislation dictates how debt collectors can act when attempting to collect a debt from you. Here are the most egregious behaviors addressed by the Fed.

  • Collectors are not allowed to ask you for more than you owe or misrepresent the amount you owe.
  • Additional fees and expenses cannot be added to the original loan or credit agreement.
  • Calling repeatedly or continuously is considered harassment and is against the law. Repeatedly calling a third party for your location is also forbidden.
  • Another form of harassment that is not allowed is the use of foul, obscene or abusive language.
  • Collectors may not call before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
  • They also may not call at times that they know or should know are inconvenient.
  • Collectors may not attempt to communicate at the consumer’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.
  • Threatening violence or action that cannot be taken is prohibited.
  • They may not publish a list of consumer names or inform a third party about alleged debt. Exceptions are for your attorney, creditors and their attorneys, credit reporting bureaus, spouses and parents, if you’re a minor.

These are just a few of the provisions put in place by the Federal government to protect consumers from harassment and undue stress when they find themselves in a financial crisis. But it also doesn’t give Americans permission to ignore their debt obligations.