What Debt Collectors
Can and Can't Do
Congress enacted the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
(FDCPA) to prohibit some actions of debt collectors
which were considered unfair or abusive. A debt
collector is someone who regularly collects debts owed to
others. The term includes lawyers who collect debts for
their clients, but does not include the creditor to whom money
is owed. The act applies only to debt collectors
(not the creditor), and only for the collection of
personal, family, and household debts, including car payments,
medical bills, and credit card accounts.
Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act:
- Debt collectors may contact you only between 8 a.m.
and 9 p.m.
- Debt collectors may not contact you at work if they
know your employer disapproves.
- Debt collectors may not harass, oppress, or abuse
- Debt collectors may not lie when collecting debts,
such as falsely implying that you have committed a crime.
- Debt collectors must identify themselves to you on
- Debt collectors must stop contacting you if you ask
them to do so in writing.
For details, see Fair
The Bankruptcy stay is much broader than the Fair Debt
Collection Practices Act. It prohibits anyone--the debt
collector, the creditor, and any other agent--from contacting
the debtor to attempt to collect a debt.