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When are collectors permitted to call about a debt?

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is the federal law that sets guidelines for when collectors can place calls to consumers.

Collection Call Hours

Collectors can contact you by phone between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m., based on your time zone, unless you tell them that they are permitted to contact you outside of those hours. For example, if you work a night shift and sleep during the day, you can explain to the collector that calls during regular business hours are inconvenient.  You can specify the time frame that would be acceptable for calls.

Calls at Work

Unless you tell a collector that you may not receive calls at work, they may try to contact you during work hours.  If your employer does not allow you to receive personal calls at work, let the collector know that they must contact you outside of work.  You can let the collector know the best phone number to reach you.

Repeated Phone Calls

Collectors may try to reach you several times during the week or day.  However, they are not to make repeated phone calls to annoy you.  If you receive constant collection calls, it is important to document the calls by noting the date, time of day, name of caller and collection agency, the caller ID, and details of the phone conversation or phone message.

Calls to your Cell Phone

When a cell phone number is provided to the creditor on an application for a loan or credit card, it is implied that the consumer authorizes the creditor, or debt collector, to make contact by using that number.  

If the consumer does not want to receive collection calls on his or her cell phone, a letter should be sent to the collector a requesting the calls stop.  The letter should state that the collector no longer has permission to contact the cell phone number. If the calls continue, there may be a violation to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

"Don't Pick Up the Phone", an article written by Jason Fagone for Philadelphia Magazine, tells a story about one of America's largest debt collector's abusive collection calls had written a story about abusive collection calls.  Attorney Cary Flitter was asked to comment.  Click here:

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