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 prohibited
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). If you believe a collection agency has violated your rights, contact the Federal Trade Commission or see a lawyer who specializes in consumer rights.
Many of these consumer protection laws have been extended by the 2012 Dodds-Frank debtor protection Laws.