Debt Collection Laws | What's Legal for Debt Collectors?

Debt Collection Laws

If you have been contacted by a debt collector, you may be wondering what regulations and rules govern debt collectors. For example, is it legal for a debt collector to call you at work? What hours can they call you? How often can they contact you?

Unfortunately, there are debt collectors that engage in unlawful harassment. There are also debt collection scams where criminals impersonate debt collection companies. However, there may be some debt collection practices that are perfectly legal until you inform the debt collection company of your preferences.

What are the Laws for Debt Collectors?

According to the FDCPA, or Federal Debt Collection Practices Act, there are number of different protocols an agency must follow when dealing with a consumer’s debt. Below is a brief overview of these rules. You can find more detailed information on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s website as well as the Federal Trade Commission’s website.

Laws About Communication

  • When can a debt collector call you? Debt collectors may not contact the consumer at any “unusual time”. The appropriate time for calling someone who owes a debt has been defined as any time between 8:00am and 9:00pm (in the consumer's time zone). Any contact outside this time frame can be considered a violation of the FDCPA.
  • Can a debt collector call you at work? Collection agencies are not allowed to contact you at work if they have been notified that your employer does not approve of personal calls to your work number. 
  • Who can a debt collector tell about your debt? Debt collectors are only allowed to discuss your debt with you, your spouse in some states, your attorney, and consumer reporting agencies.
  • How do you stop a debt collector from calling you? If you would like the collection agency to stop contacting you, you may formally request this in writing. Once this is done they may only contact you to tell you that they will stop communication and may use other methods to collect your debt.

Laws About Harassment

Harassment is unlawful according to the FDCPA. Below are actions that the FDCPA considers harassment:

  • Debt collectors may not threaten violence in any form including property damage, physical harm or defamation.
  • Use of obscene language and profanities is strictly prohibited when attempting to collect a debt.
  • Collection agencies may not publicize the identities of consumers who will not pay their debts.
  • Debt collectors may not annoy or harass consumers with continuous and persistent phone calls.
  • Agencies should not threaten to advertise selling your debt in order to convince you to make a payment.

Laws About False Information

  • Debt collectors cannot falsify information or present themselves in a way that is deceptive including making false claims about the amount of the debt, who they work for, or what they will do if you do not pay the debt.
  • If requested in writing within the first 30 days after being contacted by a debt collector, a collection agency must provide written verification to validate your debt including the amount and information about the original creditor.

Laws About Payment

  • If you send in a post-dated check, the collection agency may not cash it until the date marked.
  • Debt collectors may not collect any amount other than what is explicitly specified by the contract.


Other Questions

More FAQs


Convergent Outsourcing is a third party collection agency that abides by the standards outlined in the FDCPA. If you’ve experienced difficulty with any of our representatives pertaining to the issues above, please let us know via our [online contact form](/outsourcing/request/make). We seek to provide excellent customer service to our consumers and appreciate any feedback you may have. To make a payment or ask questions about your debt, please give us a call at 1-800-444-8485.

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About Us

In business since 1950, Convergent is one of America’s leading collections agencies. As an accredited agency, all of our representatives are thoroughly trained on customer service and Fair Debt Collection Practices Act compliance. We believe in customer service and want to make it easy as possible for people to pay the debts they owe.

Our Contacts

800 SW 39th Street, Suite 100
Renton, WA 98057


          

          
          

800-444-8485
7 am to 5 pm Pacific Time
Monday to Friday

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