Dodging debt collector calls adds stress and anxiety to an already difficult situation. Thanks to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), debt collectors have to play by a certain set of rules. They can still call you, of course, but the tone and the quality of their calls must meet a certain standard. If you’re wondering how often debt collectors can contact you, the answer is unfortunately not quite clear-cut. While the law imposes certain restrictions on the calls, there is no set limit of the number of times they can contact you. Here’s what you need to know when you’re receiving a lot of calls from debt collectors.
Acceptable Times to Call You
How often can debt collectors contact you? Debt collectors have a window of time that’s considered fair game for contacting debtors, typically between the hours of 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. They also cannot call you an excessive amount of times each day, but unfortunately, the FDCPA does not define what counts as “excessive.” If you are receiving multiple calls a day, make a note of each call and the content of the conversation. That’ll be critical information to share if you decide to file a complaint or a lawsuit against the agency.
Harassing Is a Definite Violation
The FDCPA does specifically prohibit debt collectors from making repeated phone calls with the intent to annoy, abuse, or harass consumers. However, you may wonder how many calls are too many — and whether the collector’s behavior amounts to true harassment. It’s safe to say that if the collector is calling more than once a day — and uses threatening language — you may be dealing with one of the more unscrupulous debt collection agencies. As stressed and afraid as you might be, make sure you keep your cool and fight the urge to argue with the collector. That’ll only escalate the unpleasant behavior.
To immediately stop the phone from ringing, ask the collector to send you, in writing, a statement outlining the amount owed, the name of the original creditor, and the procedures for filing a dispute if you disagree with the amount owed. While the debt collector is validating the debt — or researching your dispute, if you file one — they must cease all collection activity until the investigation concludes. That’ll buy you some much-needed time to check your own records and verify that you do, indeed, owe the debt and possibly come up with a plan to repay it.
Here’s the good news about persistent debt collectors: You can tell them to stop calling, and by law they must abide by your request. Send the letter, via certified mail, requesting that they cease further communications with you. Take note that the debt collector could still end up turning your account over to a lawyer if the amount is substantial enough. Or they might sell the account to another agency — a common industry practice — which means you might have to start over and deal with a different set of collectors. Once you’ve sent the letter, the debt collector may only contact you to confirm that it will no longer call you, or to advise that it will be filing a lawsuit.
Know Your Rights
Debt collectors can legally call you at your place of employment, which can naturally cause even more anxiety. However, once you inform them you no longer wish to receive calls from them at work, they must stop. Also, debt collectors may not advise any of your co-workers or bosses that they are calling about a debt. Legally, they can only ask if you work there.
Filing a Complaint
Once the debt collector’s behavior crosses the line into disturbing and intimidating territory, you may have grounds for filing a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, the governing board that oversees FDCPA violations. You can also submit a complaint to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an independent consumer protection agency. Make sure to consult your state attorney general’s website, which will likely provide a summary of state-specific debt collection regulations that could bring an additional layer of protection.
Collection Woes? We’ve Got Your Back
Debt collectors can bring down your credit report, but you can recover your credit score thanks to our seasoned team of credit repair specialists. Don’t spend any more time worrying over how often debt collectors can contact you — take action today. Ovation Credit pros specialize in assisting consumers with collection account issues. Let us know how we can help you with a free consultation.