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What Debt Collectors Can and Cannot Say

On Behalf of | Dec 9, 2013 | Consumer Protection

Chances are pretty good that either you or someone you know will
get a call from a
debt collector
in the course of your lifetime.  The
collection call can be for a legitimate debt that you or your loved
one have forgotten you owe or it can be for a debt that does not
belong to you.  Either way, the Fair
Debt Collection Practices Act
(“FDCPA”) was enacted to protect
you from the harsh treatment of debt collectors and ensure that you
are treated with respect during the collection
.  It is important to educate yourself with your
rights under the statute and to be aware of what a collector may
and may not say in an effort to collect the debt.

While the FDCPA does not have an inclusive list of what a
collector can and cannot say to you, the following is a fairly
comprehensive list of actions that violate the law and should
encourage you to contact an attorney to discuss your options about
pursuing a legal claim.

  • A debt collector cannot represent himself as a member of law
    enforcement, a policeman or sheriff, or as an attorney if he is not
  • A debt collector cannot threaten to arrest you or claim he has
    a warrant out for your arrest; Not paying your debts is not a crime
    and is not punishable by incarceration;
  • A collector cannot threaten to physically harm you in an effort
    to receive payment;
  • Collection agencies must place collection calls from a
    legitimate telephone number;
  • A collection agency cannot threaten to sue you, garnish your
    wages, put a lien on your home or report your debt to the credit
    reporting agencies if it has no intention of doing
  • A collector cannot use profane language, cannot yell at you or
    use a tone that is meant to intimidate or berate you;
  • A collector cannot disclose your debt to a third party
    including family, friends, neighbors or co-workers;
  • A debt collector cannot call you before 8:00 a.m. or after 9:00
  • A debt collector cannot call
    you at your place of employment
    if you have told him or he has
    reason to believe you are prohibited from receiving calls during
  • A collector cannot place
    excessive calls
    to you at any time;
  • A collector cannot leave a
    on a family answering machine;
  • A collector cannot use deceptive mailings, like a post card and
    cannot have any information regarding the debt on the outside of
    the envelope;

If you have a collection agency contacting you to collect a debt
and you feel your rights have been violated, contact SmithMarco
P.C. for a free case review.