A debt collector should never work to intentionally annoy or harass you. They are in the business of collecting a debt on behalf of a creditor you owe and failed to pay. However, they are professionals and expected to act as such. You have plenty of rights. One of the most common questions asked of our bankruptcy lawyer is, "How can a debt collector contact you?"
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a government agency built to protect consumers, states "Federal law doesn't give a specific limit on the number of calls a debt collector can place to you. However, a debt collector may not call you repeatedly or continuously to annoy, abuse, or harass you or others who share the number."
A debt collector can contact you by phone, letter, email, or even text message. In fact, they can even attempt to communicate with you by visiting your home, though few do that these days, as long as they don't violate the rules. The three general rules are (1) they cannot contact you at inconvenient times and places, (2) they cannot harass or abuse, and (3) they cannot make false or misleading statements.
There are two surefire ways to get a debt collector to stop calling:
- If you mail a written statement to stop contacting you. They then have the opportunity to communicate one additional time to either acknowledge the request or inform you of their next action.
- If you have an attorney representing you regarding the debt or a bankruptcy. At that point, they may only communicate with your lawyer.
Another way a collector may attempt to contact you is through references, known family members, and neighbors. No, they cannot communicate with these people about your debt. However, they may contact them to verify your address, phone number, and place of work. Once they verify the information, the debt collector has no reason to contact these individuals.
If you would like to talk more about how a debt collector can contact you, or you need more information, please contact us.