How Many Calls from a Debt Collector is Considered Harassment?
Patrick Austin, J.D. | April 17, 2023
Summary: Receiving multiple phone calls throughout the day from the same creditor or debt collector can be considered harassing behavior in violation of various state and federal laws.
Receiving calls throughout the day from the same debt collector, or multiple debt collectors, can be stressful, demoralizing, and incredibly frustrating. Please understand that you do not have to endure this type of inappropriate behavior from creditors and debt collectors. There are laws that prohibit debt collectors from repeatedly calling you throughout the day in an effort to extract repayment.
Federal laws restrict repeated phone calls by a debt collector
There are two notable federal laws that expressly restrict a debt collector calling a consumer repeatedly throughout the day. Those laws include the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). In addition, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently established a “Debt Collection Rule'' specifying the number of calls deemed to be too many and taking a hard right directly into harassment land.
Number of times a debt collector can call before it is considered harassment
According to the CFPB’s recently-established Debt Collection Rule, if a particular debt collector calls more than seven times in seven days to try and collect on a debt, they are deemed to be in violation of the law and are harassing you.
However, the CFPB’s new Debt Collection Rule has a major legal loophole: it only applies to telephone calls. This means a debt collector is still, technically, allowed to contact you via email, text message, social media, and in person without any specific limitation. Though, there are other federal laws providing protections in these instances.
Under the FDCPA, debt collectors are prohibited from engaging in conduct that is harassing, oppressing, or abusive to a consumer. In addition, the FDCPA references the fact that making your phone ring repeatedly or continuously throughout the day to annoy, harass, intimidate or abuse you would be a violation of this statutory restriction.
The TCPA specifically addresses pre-recorded phone calls and messages. According to the TCPA, there are statutory limitations on pre-recorded phone messages, text messages, and robocalls that are made between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. In addition, the TCPA contains restrictions on debt collection calls where the caller fails to provide:
- Their name or identify their business
- A contact phone number or address
- An automatic opt-out mechanism
What to do if you are To Do If You are Receiving Three or More Collection Calls from the Same Debt Collector in a Given Day
If you are receiving multiple phone calls each day from the same debt collector, you do not have to endure this harassing and inappropriate behavior. You have legal rights and protections.
When you encounter a harassing debt collector, one of the first recommendations is to rigorously document the harassing calls. Why? Because, when pressed, a debt collector or creditor may not admit to contacting you multiple times each day. Consider taking screenshots of the Caller ID on your home or mobile telephone to memorialize the multiple collection calls from the same debt collector.
You should also maintain a call log summarizing the time, date and telephone number of the debt collector who is calling repeatedly each day. In addition, you should explore your legal options and whether you have grounds to file a lawsuit against the debt collector or debt collection agency for violating the FDCPA, TCPA, and other federal laws.
Below are specific factors that a judge may utilize when determining whether a debt collector “repeatedly and continuously” called you to the point that it would be deemed harassment:
- Debt collector calls you after receiving a formal cease and desist request letter
- Debt collector calls you after learning you have legal representation
- Debt collector contacts you on your work line
- Debt collector is hostile and levies threats during the calls
- Repeated calls in a finite period of time
Debt can be stressful, and endless phone calls from debt collectors only makes matters worse. Luckily, there are ways to protect yourself from telephone harassment incited by debt collectors, as covered in this article. Here are some key takeaways:
- Multiple phone calls from a debt collector each day can be considered a form of harassment.
- You do not have to endure harassing debt collection calls and have legal protections under the FDCPA, TCPA, and other state and federal laws.
- If a debt collector is calling you multiple times per day, you may have grounds to file a legal action to collect compensatory damages.
If you have been harassed by debt collectors, you can use this as a defense in a debt lawsuit case. Use SoloSuit to respond to a Summons for debt collection and increase your chances of winning by 7x.
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