The stress of debt on consumers in Minnesota is enough without getting constantly contacted by third-party debt collectors. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act passed in 1971 protects you from deceptive and harassing collectors. The collectors have limits on how they can collect debt and when and where to call.
FDCPA rules on calls
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act defines a third-party debt collector as an agency that attempts to collect debt for another party. Under the FDCPA, the collector may not contact you after 9 p.m. or before 8 a.m. without your permission. They must identify themselves as debt collectors, say who they work for and inform you that the data they collect wall be used for debt collection.
The law doesn’t restrict the number of times they can call, but it says they can’t call repeatedly. However, if a collector calls more than seven times in more than seven consecutive days per debt, it is often a violation. They may contact you by cell phone but not at work if you tell them to stop or it’s against company policy.
Where collectors can contact you
New laws that became effective in 2022 allow collectors to use social media, emails and texts with the same restrictions as landlines. If they use social media to reach you, they must send communication through a private message and include an opt-out.
They may ask friends, employers and family for contact information, but they cannot say why or discuss the debt. Some states allow collectors to show up at your house as long as they follow the laws, but it isn’t likely they will.
How to stop harassment
If they keep harassing you or you don’t think you owe the debt, send a cease-and-desist letter through certified mail. If you have recently filed bankruptcy, the calls should stop immediately under the automatic stay.
You may also file a complaint with your local attorney general or the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. You still owe the debt, but if the agency doesn’t stop the harassment, you may sue them.