I get a lot of questions about the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. People are confused about what it means and what rights they have. This is important to know when you are contacted by a debt collector such as Persolve, Midland Funding, CACH or any other debt collector. Here are some answers to some basic questions.
What types of debts are covered by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act?
The Act covers personal, family, and household debts, including personal credit cards, auto loans, medical bills and mortgages. It does not cover business debts.
Can a debt collector contact me any time?
No. A debt collector may not contact you at inconvenient times or places, such as before 8 in the morning or after 9 at night. Collectors may not contact you at work if they are told that you’re not allowed to get calls there. You can tell them in writing or by phone.
How can I stop a debt collector from contacting me?
Tell the collector by writing a letter to stop contacting you. Make a copy of the letter and send it by delivery confirmation or certified mail, return receipt requested. This does not mean you do not owe the debt, but should stop any contact. If you get any calls or letters after your letter is received, document those in a journal.
Can a debt collector contact anyone else about my debt?
If an attorney is representing you about the debt, the debt collector must contact the attorney, rather than you. If you don’t have an attorney, a collector may contact other people to obtain contact information for you. A debt collector cannot harass other people to get this information.
What does the debt collector have to tell me about the debt?
Every collector must send you a letter telling you how much money you owe within five days after they first contact you. This notice also must include the name of the creditor to whom you owe the money, and how to proceed if you don’t think you owe the money. In California, the Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act has other requirements for the notice, including telling you about your rights.
Can a debt collector keep contacting me if I don’t think I owe any money?
If you send the debt collector a letter stating that you don’t owe any or all of the money, or asking for verification of the debt, that collector must stop contacting you until they send you validation of the debt. You have to send that letter within 30 days after you receive the validation notice. But a collector can begin contacting you again if it sends you written verification of the debt.
I will be posting more questions and answers over the coming weeks. Remember, if you are contacted by a debt collector, talk to an attorney about your options.