September 15, 2006, Newsletter Issue #56: Debt Collection Laws

Tip of the Week

A collection agency representative must not communicate with the consumer at any unusual time or place or at a time or place which the collector should know would be inconvenient to the consumer. Unless the collector has knowledge of circumstances to the contrary, he should assume that the most convenient time for contacting the consumer is between the hours of 8 am and 9 pm. If the collector calls the consumer before 8am or after 9pm, the debt collector is violating the Fair Debt Collection Act.

A debt collector should not contact the consumer at their place of employment if he knows or has reason to know that the consumer´s employer prohibits such calls, according to the fair debt collection laws.

As a matter of fair debt collection practices, a debt collection agency representative must not use any written communication which appears to be a legal document or which gives the appearance of being authorized, issued or approved by a government, governmental agency, or attorney at law, when it is not-and must not misrepresent that documents are not legal or don´t require a response from the consumer when in fact they do. An agency is prohibited from using any form of communication that may appear as though it came from an attorney´s office, a governmental agency, or the police. This includes any document that looks like a court order, judgment, or a subpoena.

According to the Fair Debt Collection Act, a debt collection agency representative should not communicate with the consumer under the guise of any attorney by using the stationery of an attorney or forms or instruments which only attorneys are authorized to prepare. A debt collector cannot send a debt collection letter from a "legal department" when no such department exists.

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