Debt Collection – Unlawful Practices


Both state and federal laws protect consumers from unfair debt collection practices.

Debt collection by telephone

A debt collector may contact you by phone only at convenient times – that is generally interpreted to mean between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.

Debt collection by mail

Your financial affairs are private. A collection agency may not communicate with you by postcard, because then anyone could read the message.
An envelope from a collection agency must contain neither language nor symbols to indicate that the communication relates to the collection of a debt.

Can I stop a collection agency from contacting me?

If you do not want the debt collector to contact you at all, you can simply:

  • Notify them in writing that you refuse to pay; or
  • Notify them in writing that you want them to stop all further communication; or
  • Notify them of the name of your lawyer and tell them to communicate only with your lawyer.

Harassment by collection agencies

Federal law prohibits collection agencies from:

  • Making threats
  • Using obscene or profane language
  • Publishing lists of “deadbeats,” and
  • Making harassing phone calls
  • Violators are subject to penalties of up to $1,000 per violation (which go to the government).

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