What Law Regulates Collection Agencies?
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) regulates collection agencies and prohibits them from doing the following:
- They can only contact a third party to secure your location when they are trying to locate you, but they cannot disclose the matter of the call.
- After the collection agency knows that you have legal representation, they must communicate only with your attorney, unless the attorney fails to respond within a reasonable time frame.
- They cannot call you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
- They cannot call your job if your employment prohibits personal phone calls.
- The collector cannot discuss your debt with any third party unless it’s your attorney, a credit bureau, the creditor, or the creditor’s attorney.
- If you notify the collector in writing that you want them to stop calling and sending you letters, they must stop. They can still send you one last letter advising you what actions they will take next.
- They cannot harass, oppress, abuse, threaten use of violence, use obscene or profane language, cause your telephone to ring repeatedly with the intent to be annoying, or make calls to your house without disclosing their identity.
- They may not use any false, deceptive, or misleading representation while trying to collect a debt.
- They can’t appear to be affiliated with any government or law enforcement agency. Misrepresent that they are attorneys, threaten to garnish your wages, or say that they can have you arrested and imprisoned. Furthermore, they cannot threaten to take action that cannot legally be taken.
- They cannot use unfair or unconscionable means to collect, or attempt to collect, any debt.
- They cannot collect interest, fees, or charges (unless authorized by a signed original agreement between you and the creditor), or threaten to deposit a postdated check issued by you.
- If you have multiple debts with one collection agency, they must apply the payment to the debt you advise them to pay.