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|| Fair Credit Reporting Act || Collection Agencies ||
|| Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ||


Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

If you're contacted by a collection agency, the Federal government gives you certain rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. It requires that debt collectors treat you fairly and prohibits certain practices.

A debt collector may not:

  • Contact you at unreasonable times or places, such as before 8:00 am or after 9:00 pm, unless you agree.
  • Contact you at your place of employment, if your employer disapproves of this practice.
  • Use threats of violence or harm to you, your property or reputation.
  • Publish a list of debtors or advertise your debt.
  • Use obscene or profane language.
  • Repeatedly use the telephone to annoy you.
  • Telephone without identifying themselves.
  • Use false statements, including implying they are attorneys or government agents, imply you committed a crime, state they operate or work in a credit bureau, indicate papers they are sending to you are legal forms when they are not, or that they are not legal forms when they are.
  • Tell you that you will be arrested if you do not pay your debt.
  • Cannot threaten to action, such as garnishing wages or attaching property or undertaking a lawsuit, unless they intend to do so and it is legal to do so.
  • Give false credit information about you.
  • Use a false name.
  • Collect amounts greater than your debt, unless allowed by law.
  • Deposit post-dated checks prematurely.
  • Make you accept collect calls or telegrams.
  • Contact you by postcard.

If you believe a debt collector has violated the law, you can report the violation to your state Attorney General's office and the Federal Trade Commission. For specific questions, you can write: Correspondence Branch, Federal Trade Commission, Washington, DC, 20580.