Contacting a consumer



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How can a debt collector communicate with a consumer under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act?

As usual, we start with the language of the statute.

15 USC §1692c(a) Communication with the consumer generally

Without the prior consent of the consumer given directly to the debt collector or the express permission of a court of competent jurisdiction, a debt collector may not communicate with a consumer in connection with the collection of any debt—

(1) at any unusual time or place or a time or place known or which should be known to be inconvenient to the consumer. In the absence of knowledge of circumstances to the contrary, a debt collector shall assume that the convenient time for communicating with a consumer is after 8 o’clock antemeridian and before 9 o’clock postmeridian, local time at the consumer’s location;

(2) if the debt collector knows the consumer is represented by an attorney with respect to such debt and has knowledge of, or can readily ascertain, such attorney’s name and address, unless the attorney fails to respond within a reasonable period of time to a communication from the debt collector or unless the attorney consents to direct communication with the consumer; or

(3) at the consumer’s place of employment if the debt collector knows or has reason to know that the consumer’s employer prohibits the consumer from receiving such communication.

So, what does this mean?

Debt collectors are not allowed to contact you in manners that are inconvenient.  The statute defines what is pre-determined to be inconvenient.  If the debt collector knows that the time or place that they are contacting you is inconvenient, they are not allowed to contact you.  For example, before 8 am or after 9 pm.  There are exceptions to this, for example, if you work night shift, then 8am to 9pm is inconvenient- that’s when you sleep.

But they can’t call you at work if they know that you are not allowed to get personal phone calls at work.  How would they know this?

You can tell them, but that becomes a swearing match- you swear you told them, and they swear you never said that.

You could tell them and record, but many debt collectors are in states that require the consent of all parties to the conversation, so recording may be a crime.  You get the money, but go to jail in the process.  Our opinion is that there is no amount of money for which it is worth going to jail.

But you can write them a letter, and tell them in the letter.  If you send them a letter Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested (CMRRR), you can prove that you sent it and you can prove that they received it.

But you don’t really need that to prove that they did something.  It works just as well to take pictures of your caller ID.

Those work calls can be very annoying.  All you need to do, supposedly,  is tell them you cannot take calls.  They should NOT call back.  But they may do so anyway.

If you have any of these problems, first, you can use our call log, to track these calls, and second- contactus.

If you have been impacted by anything we mentioned here, you can make an appointment to see us.



The rights afforded to you, as a consumer, under the FCRA and the FDCPA means that a corporation or party who has violated your rights may ultimately be made to pay for statutory damages, actual damages, and your legal fees. Therefore, if we agree to represent you in any case, you won’t pay any attorney’s fees unless we are successful and we recover on your behalf. We are here to serve and have assisted many consumers TO enforce their legal rights. Let us try and see if we can help you too. That means you pay no fee in your case unless we recover.

Contact us by e-mail or by telephone or fax or US Mail.

You can call us: 804.673.4358

You can fax us: 804.673.4350

You can contact us by US MAIL:

Krumbein Consumer Legal Services, Inc.

1650 Willow Lawn Drive

Suite 300

Richmond, VA 23230

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  2. I’m currently on a debt management plan, seems to be doing the trick. Although I guess it would have been better for me not to get in debt in the first place….

    • Our experience with Debt Management Plans is that the consumer often gets sued, and when they notify the DMP that they are being sued, nothing gets done, and a default judgment is entered. Most people thereafter end up having to file for Bankruptcy. Be VERY careful when doing a DMP, and contact the creditors and the DMP to follow up, to make sure they are accepting the plan.

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