Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) debt collectors are prohibited from doing the following:
- Contacting consumers by telephone outside the hours of 8AM to 9PM local time.
- Communicating with consumers in any way (other than litigation) after receiving written notice that the consumer wishes no further communication or refuses to pay the alleged debt, with certain exceptions, including advising that collection efforts are being terminated or that the collector intends to file a lawsuit or pursue other remedies where permitted.
- Causing a telephone to ring or engaging any person in telephone conversations repeatedly or continuously, with the intent to annoy, abuse, or harass any person at the called number.
- Communicating with consumers at their place of employment after having been advised that this is unacceptable or prohibited by the employer.
- Contacting a consumer known to be represented by an attorney.
- Communicating with a consumer after request for validation has been made: communicating with the consumer or pursuing collection efforts by the debt collector after receipt of a consumer’s written request for verification of a debt made within the 30 day validation period (or for the name and address of the original creditor on a debt) and before the debt collector mails the consumer the requested verification or original creditor’s name and address.
- Misrepresentation or deceit: misrepresenting the debt or using deception to collect the debt, including a debt collector’s misrepresentation that he or she is an attorney or law enforcement officer.
- Publishing the consumer’s name or address on a “bad debt” list.
- Seeking unjustified amounts, which would include demanding any amounts not permitted under an applicable contract or as provided under applicable law.
- Threatening arrest or legal action that is either not permitted or not actually contemplated.
- Using abusive or profane language during the course of communication related to the debt.
- Revealing or discussing the nature of the debt with third parties (other than a spouse or attorney). Collection agencies are allowed to contact neighbors or co-workers but only to obtain location information. They are not allowed to tell neighbors or co-workers that they are trying to reach a debtor on an “urgent matter.”
- Initiating contact by embarrassing media, such as communicating with a debtor by post card, or using any language or symbol, other than the debt collector’s address, on any envelope when communicating with a consumer by use of mail or by telegram, except that a debt collector may use his business name if such name does not indicate it is a debt collecting business.
- Reporting false information on a consumer’s credit report or threatening to do in the process of collection.