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Lenders are known for not playing by the rules. In many cases their underhanded tactics used to collect from consumers have become against the law with the passing of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) of 1966. The FDCPA is a federal law which governs the guidelines that debt collectors for personal debts must abide by. Auto loans, home loans, medical bills, and credit card accounts are all considered personal debts.

Collection Guidelines

Creditors, even those using a third-party, are obligated to follow the FDCPA. A debt collector cannot do under the FDCPA:

  • Call before 8am
  • Call after 9pm
  • Call your work if you have expressed otherwise
  • Collectors cannot harass you
  • Collectors may not miss lead you, lie to you or imply that you have committed a crime.
  • Collectors may not use unfair practices to collect the debt
  • Collectors must disclose their identity on the phone
  • Collectors cannot disregard a written request from you to cease further contact


Often debt collectors would use ‘shame tatics’ to get to their money. As no one wants their dirty laundry out for all to see the law disallowed the debt collector when communicating with a person other than the debt collector from giving out information pertaining to your debt, it’s status, or any pertinent details. If you’re a minor they are allowed to speak to your legal guardian. Debt collectors are also prohibited along the same lines to communicate via a postcard or use any sort of distinguishing characteristic on an envelope that indicates they attempting to collect a debt. If you are being represented by an attorney the debt collector can only communicate with that attorney.The can though reach out to the debtor if they do not have the contact information for the attorney. Debt collectors are to refrain from threatening violence the debtor, their reputation, or property.

One thing typically expected across all businesses is ethics. There is a certain language in which business is handled and debt collectors are no different. According to the FDCPA a collection agency cannot use obscene language while speaking with the debtor.  Publishing of any kind of listing of consumers that have not paid their debts is strictly prohibited (consumer credit bureaus may receive notice).

What if my Rights Have Been Violated?

In situations you feel that the FDCPA may have been violated, you have one year from the date the violation occured to file a lawsuit against the debt collector. You could receive up to $1,000 per violation in addition to actual damages and attorney fees.

This is not to be considered legal advice. If you need legal advice please speak to an attorney/lawyer.

For More information: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre27.pdf