Debt Collectors Are Prohibited From Doing Certain Things

Collection Fees Prohibited. A debt collector may not charge you an interest, fees, or collection charges, except those amounts that were authorized by the agreement with the creditor to whom the debt is owed.

Harassment Prohibited. A debt collector may not use any language, communication or conduct to harass, oppress, or abuse any person. This includes prohibits on:

  • Use threats of violence or harm to the person, property, or reputation.
  • Advertise your debt or publish a list of consumers who refuse to pay their debts, except to a credit bureaus.
  • Use obscene or profane language.
  • Repeatedly use the telephone to annoy someone or ring the telephone constantly.
  • Call people without identifying themselves.

False Statements Prohibited. A debt collector may not use any false statements when trying to collect a debt. This includes:

  • Falsely implying that they are an attorney or government representative.
  • Falsely implying that you have committed a crime by not paying a debt.
  • Falsely represent that they operate or work for a credit bureau.
  • Misrepresent the character, amount, or legal status of the debt.
  • Indicate that papers being sent are legal papers when they are not.
  • Indicate that papers being sent are not legal papers when they are.

Threats Prohibited. A debt collector may not use threats when trying to collect a debt. This includes threats like the following:

  • You will be arrested if you do not pay your debt.
  • They will seize, garnish, attach, or sell your property or wages, unless the collection agency or the creditor intends to do so and they have the right to do so.
  • Take any actions against you which are illegal.
  • Violate any law in an effort to collect a debt.

Deception Prohibited. A debt collector may not use deception when trying to collect a debt. This includes deceptions like the following:

  • Send you anything that looks like an official document from a court or government agency when it is not.
  • Give false credit information about you to anyone.
  • Use a fake or false name, unless that name is allowed by state law and properly registered with the state, if required.

Unfairness Prohibited. A debt collector may not treat you unfairly in attempting to collect a debt. This includes unfairness like the following:

  • Collect any amount greater than your debt, unless allowed by law.
  • Deposit a post dated check more than 5 days before the date on the check, without giving you notice of when they intend to deposit it.
  • Solicit a post dated in order threaten criminal prosecution or threaten to cash the check early.
  • Make you accept collect calls or pay for telegrams.
  • Take or threaten to take your property unless this can be done legally, including wrongfully repossessing your vehicle.
  • Contact you by postcard.

Payments on Multiple Debts. A debt collector must apply you payments on multiple debts in the order you direct. A debt collector is prohibited from applying any payments you send in to debts that you believe you do not owe.

This is just a brief summary of your legal rights and is not intended as a substitute for sound legal advice. If you have been subjected to any collection harassment, please contact our office.