Six things a debt collector can’t do to you while collecting a debt

A debt collector can't send you a postcard. From Tuscon or anywhere. via Etherton Gallery

A debt collector can’t send you a postcard. From Tuscon or anywhere. via Etherton Gallery

Constantly being on guard for calls from debt collectors can be exhausting. It can even make you go to weird lengths to make sure you never end up with them. “Debt collector horror stories” brings up almost a million Google results, which tells you that people haven’t exactly had the best dealings with these folks. Consumerist checked out some FTC guidelines and found a few things that debt collectors can’t do to you while trying to get you to pay up, so you can feel a little more at ease next time one calls you.

Which, speaking of phone calls, they aren’t allowed to call you before 8am or after 9pm, unless you specifically say they can. So it’s like the thing about how a vampire can’t come in your house unless you invite him.

Or here’s an obvious one: they can’t THREATEN YOU WITH VIOLENCE. We’re sure it happens, but the fact that the government has to put it in a list of things debt collectors aren’t allowed to do is just disturbing. As a reminder: no one can threaten you with violence, ever.

They also can’t make up how much money you owe or tack on interest. Leave bleeding people dry to the banks guys, they’re professionals at it. Nor are they allowed to get all James Bond on you and hide who they’re working for by giving you a fake company name.

And finally, they aren’t allowed to contact you by postcard. Obviously Big Postcard wasn’t able to get their lobbyists to work hard enough on their behalf if that somehow ended up in the Fair Debt Collection Promises Practices Act. There are plenty of other things over on their site, so arm yourself with the knowledge they’re sharing so you know what to do next time a debt collector calls you at 9:05pm.

2 Comment

  • I’m pretty sure the postcard rule was made so they can’t publicly shame you with essentially open announcements that you owe them money.

  • It’s the fair debt collection practices act, not promises.