Can debtors control when creditors contact them?

Can debtors control when creditors contact them?

On Behalf of | Aug 21, 2023 | Firm News

There are numerous laws restricting the activity of debt collection professionals. In general, both professional collection specialists and those pursuing internal collections for a business must carefully comply with federal and state rules about fair debt collection practices.

Many of those rules aim to curtail abuses, like harassment, that can cause a debt to have a profound impact on someone’s finances or social life. Especially when someone has proven reluctant to make payments or communicate with creditors, collectors may try to reach out to them any place where communication is possible and often throughout the day at different times between 8 in the morning and 9 at night.

Debtors do have certain rights:

 Federal debt collection rules do impose a few specific restrictions that debtors can invoke for their protection during collection efforts. For example, it is common practice for employers to limit or even prohibit personal communication during someone’s shift at work. If someone receives a collection call at their place of employment, they have the right to inform the collection agents of the restrictions imposed by their employer and to request that they not contact them at that location going forward.

Similarly, those that work late schedules, such as third-shift employees, can potentially notify creditors of their unusual schedules and ask that the company not contact them during their standard rest hours. They can also request that collection professionals stop contacting them altogether, and then the only future communication may involve providing notice of enhanced collection efforts, like a lawsuit.

Collection professionals and creditors will generally need to abide by requests related to someone’s employment, because continuing to call someone at work after they have asked for such calls to cease could be a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Obviously, having someone demand that creditors cease making use of one of the few methods they know is successful for contacting that individual can be very frustrating. Those denied opportunities for telecommunication conversations with debtors may need to take additional steps to collect on their debts, such as taking that party to court.

Learning more about the rules that limit collection activity can help organizations be more effective in debt collection efforts while avoiding potentially expensive violations of federal and state statutes.