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Helen Davis
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Credit 101: Debt Collections FAQs

Published on 12/4/2018
For additional information  Click Here

It's important to know your rights when it comes to dealing with debt collectors. The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) makies it illegal for debt collectors to use abusive, unfair or deceptive practices when collecting debts.

What types of debts are covered? Credit Card debt, Auto Loans, Medical Bills, Student Loans, Mortages & other household debts - Business debts are  not covered.

Can debt collectors contact me any time or any place? No. Debt collectors can only contact you between the hours of 8 am and 9 pm, unless you have agreed otherwise. They can't contact you at work if they've been told that you're not allowed to get calls there.

How can a debt collector contact me? Debt collectors can call, send letters, emails or text messages to collect a debt.

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How can I stop a debt collector from contacting me? Send a letter asking them to stop contacting you. Be sure to make yourself a copy before you mail the letter. It's a good idea to send it by certified mail and pay for a return receipt. This way you'll have proof that the letter was received. After the collector receives your letter, they can only contact you to confirm that they will stop contacting you, or to tell you a specific action will be taken.
Can a debt collector contact anyone else about my debt? A debt collector usually cannot discuss your debt with anyone other than you or your spouse. If you have an attorney representing you, they may contact the attorney. A debt collector can contact other people to find out your address, phone number and place or employment, but usually not more than once.
What does the debt collector have to tell me about the debt?
  • How much you owe
  • The name of the creditor you owe it to
  • What to do if you don't think it's your debt
What if I don't think I owe the debt? Send the debt collector a letter saying you don't owe the money, and ask for verification of the debt. If you send the letter within 30 days of receiving the debt validation notice, the collector must send you written verification of the debt, like a copy of the bill showing the amount you owe. They have to send this verification before they can start trying to collect the debt again. You can also get a debt collector to stop contacting you at any time by mailing them a letter asking them to stop contacting you.
Learn more at
Reference: Debt Collection FAQs[Pamphlet]. (2018). Federal Trade Commission.  
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