Imagine you’re sitting down to a beautiful meal with your family when the phone rings. You go against your better judgment and answer the call, thinking that it could be the job you recently applied to, when — low and behold — it’s the aggressive debt collector whom you specifically told not to call you again. The inconvenient time of the call and the aggressive nature of the debt collector has really ruined your day.

If you’re being harassed by debt collectors, you might want to familiarize yourself with the activities that are unlawful under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. This law protects consumers from the following actions related to debt collection:

  • No calls late at night or early in the morning. Debt collectors should follow the assumption that calling someone before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. is not “convenient” and they should refrain from doing so.
  • No calls to your job if you tell the collector that you’re not allowed to receive these kinds of calls at your workplace. A debt collector cannot cause problems for you at your job by calling and harassing you while you’re supposed to be on duty.
  • No calls directly to you if you have secured representation from a lawyer. Having a lawyer on your side can help tremendously as it will relieve you of the burden of needing to speak with the debt collector and your attorney could also help you negotiate your debt.
  • No calls to others regarding your debt.
  • No calls to your family members.
  • No calls to you if you send a note in writing that you don’t wish to be contacted any further.

Just because a debt collector is harassing you about a debt does not mean that you actually have one. In fact, you might have a very specific reason for not paying the debt, or you might not even owe the money in the first place. Whatever the reason is that you say “no” to a debt collector, it’s important to fully understand your legal rights, and that you say “no” in a correct and lawful manner. This will help you avoid the potential for serious legal problems later down the line.