Chloe Meltzer | October 19, 2022
Summary: Has a creditor been calling your work to collect on an old debt? Find out what debt collectors can and can't do when trying to get in touch over debt.
If a debt collector is calling about your debts then it is most likely because you have not made all of your payments. Once a debt goes into default, a creditor may attempt to hire a debt collector to collect that debt. These are third-party debt collectors who must abide by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). This will determine if the debt collector is legally allowed to call you at work.
The FDCPA limits how debt collectors are allowed to communicate with consumers. It is not specifically illegal to call employees at work, but it is illegal to disclose your debt to other parties. It is also illegal to contact you at work if you are not allowed to receive personal calls. Once the debt collector is made aware of this, they must stop the calls. This can be done by simply asking them to stop calling, or doing so in writing.
The Federal Debt Collection Practices Act is a law that governs how debt collectors are allowed to collect debts from you. They cannot approach you in any way that is unfair or deceptive. For example, if you are being pursued for a debt that you do not owe or it is in the wrong amount, you cannot be sued for it. You can dispute this type of debt.
The law also governs how debt collectors may speak to you. This involves using harassment, abusive language, and calling at odd hours of the day. They may not call you before 8 am and after 9 pm.
Debt collectors may not contact your employer, or let anyone else know about your debt. The only person they may disclose it to is your spouse if they are responsible. They also may not add any additional interest and fees that are not within the original creditor agreement.
Should the debt be timed barred, meaning it has gone past the statute of limitations, you cannot be sued for the debt as well. This period ranges from two to ten years, depending on the state you live in and the type of debt that you owe.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has recently clarified how debt collectors are allowed to contact you. This involves how they may use texts, emails, and use other forms of digital communication. It also governs communication through social media and voicemails. The new rule requires debt collectors to give consumers a way to unsubscribe from electronic communication. There is also a limit to how often debt collectors can call you.
If a debt collector contacts you after you request no contact, then you can sue them. This would be a lawsuit brought against the collector for violating the FDCPA. The statutory damages can range up to $1,000 for each violation. You may also request payment for damages, attorney fees, and court costs as well.
Although the FDCPA does not specifically prevent debt collectors from calling you at work if they find out that it is not allowed they must stop. When it comes to a debt buyer or creditor, the FDCPA does not even cover these collections. This means that
Creditors are different from debt collectors. Creditors are the original company who loaned money to you or provided you with a credit line. Debt buyers specifically buy old and delinquent credit account before they attempt to collect them. They do not give out loans but only buy the accounts from creditors. This is because they do not meet the legal definition of what a debt collector is.
The FDCPA defines a "debt collector" as a person who uses commerce or mails to attempt to collect debts, or who regularly attempts to collect debts. Despite this, under the FDCPA, a debt buyer can easily fall under this definition of a debt collector. As long as their principal purpose is to collect debts, they may need to abide by these rules.
Although the FDCPA protects consumers, there is also a possibility that you may have protection from workplace collection calls. This is under the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTCA). The FTCA prohibits creditors from using unfair or deceptive acts or practices.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) considers any type of collection calls at work to be a violation if they are aware that it is not allowed. This means that even if it is a debt buyer or creditor calling you, it may be a violation.
The main difference between the FDCP and the FTCA is that the FTCA does not allow you to sue a creditor for violations. Rather, you can make a complaint with the FTC, and then they will conduct an investigation.
Each state and local jurisdictions have different laws. They may offer more protection from debt collectors or creditors. In some states, the law might provide for greater damages than what you might get with federal law.
If you have been given a summons, this is to notify you that you are being sued by a debt collector. You must not ignore this because otherwise, you might have a default judgment placed against you. Default judgments are awarded to a creditor or debt collector when you lose the case, or if you simply do not show up to your court case.
When a default judgment is awarded against you it allows the collector to garnish your wages, garnish your bank accounts, or place a lien on your property. To avoid this, respond to the date on the court papers you were served with.
SoloSuit makes it easy to respond to a debt collection lawsuit.
How it works: SoloSuit is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your answer. Upon completion, you can either print the completed forms and mail in the hard copies to the courts or you can pay SoloSuit to file it for you and to have an attorney review the document.
"First time getting sued by a debt collector and I was searching all over YouTube and ran across SoloSuit, so I decided to buy their services with their attorney reviewed documentation which cost extra but it was well worth it! SoloSuit sent the documentation to the parties and to the court which saved me time from having to go to court and in a few weeks the case got dismissed!" – James
Here's a list of guides for other states.
Being sued by a different debt collector? We're making guides on how to beat each one.
Is your credit card company suing you? Learn how you can beat each one.
Need more info on statutes of limitations? Read our 50-state guide.
Need help managing your finances? Check out these resources.