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What are my rights when debt collectors call?

Debt collectors can be incredibly diligent in trying to contact you about debt. You may become upset over calls you receive.

Luckily, federal laws set the rules for how debt collectors may use the phone in their attempt to contact you.

Time limits

Debt collectors must only contact you during certain hours. They cannot call you before 8:00 in the morning, and they cannot call after 9:00 in the evening. The only exception is if you agree to earlier or later calls.


Debt collectors can try to contact you at all numbers they have on file. But if you inform them not to call you at work, then they cannot. They can only call someone else about your debt one time to gather contact information for you.

Other people

They also cannot tell others what the call is about or why they are calling. They can only talk to you about your debt. The only exception is if you have an attorney handling the matter for you.

Stopping calls

You can stop calls from debt collectors, but you must do it in writing. You need to mail them a letter telling them to no longer contact you by phone. You should do this via certified letter. You can also tell the company to only contact you through your attorney.

Debt collection laws allow you these rights. If the company breaks the rules, then it could face penalties. Keep in mind they have to be professional when talking to you, too. Threats or profane language opens them up to punishment. In addition, they have to provide you with details about the debt and cannot lie to you. Finally, phone harassment is not allowable under the law. Persistent calling to the point that it becomes a problem is not okay.