As it governs debt collection practices, the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) provides a number of rules that telemarketers who collect debt as third-party debt collectors must follow:
- Call Time Restrictions
A debt collector should not contact a debtor before 8 AM or after 9 PM (according to the debtor’s local time) unless they have made an arrangement with the debtor to call outside those hours.
- Honoring Workplace Opt-Outs
A debt collector may attempt to reach a debtor at their place of work as well as their home. But if the debtor informs the debt collector to stop contacting their workplace, either verbally or in writing, the debt collector must honor that request.
- Honoring Home Phone Opt-Outs
Debtors can also request that debt collectors not call their home phones. But they must send this request in the form of a letter.
- Restrictions Against Harassment
Debt collectors are not allowed to threaten bodily harm or arrest, and are prohibited from using profane or obscene language.
- Restrictions Against Unfair Practices
Debt collectors are not allowed to use abusive, unfair, or deceptive practices in order to collect debts.
- Restrictions Against False Lawsuit Threats
Debt collectors are prohibited from threatening to sue a debtor unless they intend to follow through on that threat.