There's a reason that debt collectors have such a bad reputation-they are aggressive and often blatantly disregard the law in their attempts to get a payment from a debtor. Even worse, most consumers do not know their rights or are too ashamed of their financial situation to advocate for themselves. Even if you are behind on payments, you do not deserve to have your rights ignored. If a debt collector tries these practices, they could be in violation of state or federal law. Companies that break debt collection laws may have to pay the victim a fine for each and every violation.

1. Calling After Being Asked to Stop

If you do not wish to receive calls anymore, you can request that all communication regarding your debt be done in writing. You should make this request in writing and send it via certified mail. If the collector continues to call after receiving this letter, they are violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

2. Calling an Unreasonable Amount of Times or at Unreasonable Hours

While the law doesn't say how many calls are allowed in a 24-hour period, it does say that collectors can't call too frequently or place an unreasonable amount of calls. Furthermore, they cannot call before 8 A.M. or 9 P.M. The exception to this rule: they may call you outside these hours if you make arrangements with them to discuss your debt outside this time frame.

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We've all heard horror stories about debt collectors going to extremes. Many agencies call debtors multiple times a day, pretend to be family members to get the person to answer their phone at work, and leave obscene and harassing voice messages. Some collectors even tell their victims that failure to pay a debt is a criminal offense when in reality the collection agency is the one breaking the law.

What is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act?

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA, is a consumer protection law that was passed on September 20, 1977, after aggressive debt collector actions were connected to a steady rise in consumer bankruptcies. It imposes guidelines on how third-party debt collectors may communicate with consumers and prohibits the use of deceptive and abusive business practices.

What is a Third-Party Debt Collector?

A third-party debt collector is not an original creditor, such as a bank, hospital, or car dealership. Instead, it collects debts on behalf of others. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit recently held that the FDCPA also applies to debt buyers who purchase portfolios of old or non-performing accounts and attempt to collect them.

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