When are debt collectors allowed to call?

It’s rarely good news when the phone rings early in the morning or late at night. This is especially true when a debt collector is on the line. The call is likely to be tense as the debt collector pressures you to make a payment and tries to scare you with what could happen if you cannot pay.

But did you know that if a debt collection agency calls you at the wrong time, they might be breaking the law? The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act strictly regulates how debt collectors do their jobs and forbids excessively aggressive or harassing tactics. A debt collector who violates your rights under the law could be liable for damages.

Twin Cities residents’ rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

The Act forbids phone calls or other contact “at any unusual time,” which the statute defines as after 9 pm and before 8 am in the debtor’s time zone. Thus, late-night and early-morning calls are against the law. In addition:

  • Debt collectors cannot contact you at your workplace if they know your employer forbids such contact.
  • Once the agency learns that you are represented by an attorney and receives their contact information, the agency must communicate with your lawyer instead of you unless your attorney gives permission to contact you directly.
  • With certain exceptions, debt collectors cannot discuss your alleged debt with any third parties, such as your relatives or employer.
  • Upon receiving written notice from you that you want all communication to cease, the debt collector must do so except to notify you that it is ending its collection efforts or intends to invoke certain remedies available to it.

Once you know your rights, dealing with debt collectors can become easier and less stressful. And you might sleep better at night.

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