Fair and Legal Debt Collection
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is a federal statute that curtails unfair, abusive, or outrageous practices and tactics by collection agencies. View the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
What Debts are covered?
Personal, family, and household debts are covered under the Act. This includes money owed for the purchase of an automobile, for medical care, or for charge accounts.
Who is a Debt Collector?
Not all debt collectors are subject to the Act . It does not apply to banks, other lenders, or businesses that collect their own accounts using their own names, nor does it cover them when they collect an isolated debt for another.
How May a Debt Collector Contact You?
A debt collector may contact you in person, by mail, telephone, telegram, or FAX.
A collector may NOT contact a debtor:
Can You Stop a Debt Collector From Contacting You?
You may stop a collector from contacting you by writing a letter to the collection agency telling them to cease all communications with you and that you will deal with the creditor directly. The letter should be sent by certified mail with a return receipt requested. Remember to keep a copy of the letter.
Once the agency receives your letter, they may not contact you again except to say there will be no further contact. Another exception is that the agency may notify you if the debt collector or the creditor intends to take some specific action. Ceasing contact does not preclude a lawsuit.
May a Debt Collector Contact Any Other Person Concerning Your Debt?
A debt collector may contact a person other than the debtor only to discover or verify the debtor's location. The collector must:
The collection agency may contact any person besides yourself about your case only once. If a collection agency bill collector calls a third person more than once, they should warn the collector not to call again or they will complain to the Federal Trade Commission.
Validating The Debt
Within five days after contacting a debtor about paying a debt, the collector must send a written notice that includes:
During a period when a debt is being verified, the collector may not attempt to obtain payment.
Debt Collection Practices That Are Prohibited
Harassment... Debt collectors may not harass, oppress, or abuse any person; they may not:
False statements... Debt collectors may not use any false statements when collecting a debt; they may not:
Unfair Practices... Debt collectors may not engage in unfair practices such as:
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