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

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act has some very specific ways that are expressly not permitted and a very few that are permitted.

As we have mentioned before,  a debt collector is not permitted to, in the process of collecting a debt use language that is abusive or harassing, false or misleading, or unfair or unconscionable.

But there are other things that a debt collector can do that are illegal.

Debt collectors are not permitted to contact a person at a time that they know is inconvenient.  It is presumed that 8:00 am to 9:00 pm are acceptable hours, but if you work the night shift, that is bad for you.  If you work the night shift, tell the debt collector that it is inconvenient to take calls from 8:00 am to 5:00 PM, since that is the time that you sleep. They should call from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm, since that is when you are awake.

Debt collectors are not permitted to contact a person they know has a lawyer.  There are a few exceptions, like if the lawyer says its OK, or if a judge authorizes it, or the lawyer is non-responsive.  But they have to know that you are represented by a lawyer, and how to contact that lawyer.  We always recommend that you “lawyer up” in writing.  Give them your lawyer’s name and address. If your lawyer is willing to talk on the phone, give them the phone number. But do it in writing.  But remember- we always suggest Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested.  That way you can prove that you sent it, and they received it.  A sample letter “lawyering up” can be found here.

Debt collectors are not permitted to contact a person at work, if they know that the person cannot take that type of call (collection calls, or more generally personal calls) at work. The key here is that they have to know, or have a reason to know (know or should know).  How do you tell them that you can’t talk at work?  You just tell them.  Tell them on the phone, when they call.  Tell them in writing.  Follow up your telephone conversation with a letter.  Send it Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested.

Then, track the phone calls with our call log.  If you can prove that they received your letter, and called anyway, we can help you.

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

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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.

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Krumbein Consumer Legal Services, Inc.

1650 Willow Lawn Drive

Suite 300

Richmond, VA 23230