CREDIT1-877-FTC-HELPFEDERAL TRADE COMMISSIONFOR THE CONSUMERwww.ftc.govf you use credit cards, owe money on a personal loan, or are
paying on a home mortgage, you are a “debtor.” If you fall
behind in repaying your creditors, or an error is made on your
accounts, you may be contacted by a “debt collector.”
You should know that in either situation, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
requires that debt collectors treat you fairly and prohibits certain methods of debt
collection. Of course, the law does not erase any legitimate debt you owe.
This brochure answers commonly asked questions about your rights under the
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
Fair Debt Collection
Facts for Consumers
What debts are covered?
Personal, family, and household debts are
covered under the Act. This includes money
owed for the purchase of an automobile, for
medical care, or for charge accounts.
Who is a debt collector?
A debt collector is any person who regularly
collects debts owed to others. This includes
attorneys who collect debts on a regular
How may a debt collector contact
A collector may contact you in person, by
mail, telephone, telegram, or fax. However,
a debt collector may not contact you at
inconvenient times or places, such as before 8
a.m. or after 9 p.m., unless you agree. A
debt collector also may not contact you at
work if the collector knows that your
employer disapproves of such contacts.
Can you stop a debt collector
from contacting you?
You can stop a debt collector from contacting
you by writing a letter to the collector telling
them to stop. Once the collector receives your
letter, they may not contact you again except
to say there will be no further contact or to
notify you that the debt collector or the
creditor intends to take some specific action.
Please note, however, that sending such a
letter to a collector does not make the debt go
away if you actually owe it. You could still
be sued by the debt collector or your original
May a debt colle