Collection Abuse FAQ

What is debt collection abuse?

It is called "collection abuse" when a debt collector harasses, threatens, or hurts you or anyone else they talk to. This includes:

  • Repeatedly harassing phone calls.
  • Using rude or profane language.
  • Making threats of violence or harm.

What is collection harassment?

It's called "collection harassment," when debt collectors call you repeatedly or use electronic messages like texts, emails, or posts on social media to harass, abuse, or threaten you or anyone else with foul language.

What is the most common violation of the FDCPA?

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) says that debt collectors can't use abusive, wrongful, or immoral ways to collect debts from you, such as:

  • Misleading about the nature of the debt and how much is owed.
  • Falsely saying that the person calling you is an attorney.
  • Trying to get you imprisoned as a threat.
  • Threatening to do things that can't be done legally or that the debt collection has no plans to do.

Harassment of the debtor by the creditor/collection agent is the most common violation of the FDCPA. More than 40% of all recorded FDCPA violations involved constantly calling the debtor over the phone to abuse them.

What are examples of unfair debt collection practices?

Here are a few examples of unfair debt collection practices that the FDCPA considered against the law. Collectors of debts aren't allowed to:

  • Trying to get extra fees on top of the debt unless the contract or law says otherwise.
  • Communicating or trying to communicate with you on a social media platform about a debt collection that can be seen by the public or the person's social media contacts.
  • Sending you collection Emails on your official Email ID that you use in your workplace and given to you by your employer.
  • Use any language or sign on an envelope that tells you it's from a debt collector, other than the debt collector's address or business name.

What is the 7-in-7 rule with debt collectors?

This rule says that a collector can't talk to an individual who owes them money more than seven times a week. Also, they can't call the person again within seven days of talking to them on the phone about a specific debt.

What is the debt collection rule F?

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) confirms that the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and regulation F says that a debt collector, as that term is used in the law and regulation, can't sue or threaten to sue to collect a debt that has passed its due date. So, as per the FDCPA, a debt collector who files or threatens to file a State court foreclosure case to get money for a mortgage debt that has passed its due date may violate the FDCPA and Regulation F.

Regulation F says businesses can't contact customers more than seven times a week and that collection calls can't be made between 9 p.m. and 8 a.m. (12 CFR § 1006.6).

What is a 609-letter debt collector?

A 609 letter is comparable to a debt verification letter, which is your privilege under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The purpose of the 609 letter is to require credit agencies to remove a debt from your credit report if they cannot provide the information needed to verify the debt. In essence, 609 letters give the details required to create supplemental letters disputing errors under sections 611 and 623.

What is a drop-dead letter?

It is a cease-and-desist request that will stop the debt collector from contacting you about the debt ever again. Know that you can still be sued for the debt and still owe the money.

What happens after seven years of not paying debt?

Negative items can stay on your credit report for up to 7 years, per the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). These include things like late payments and unpaid debt in collections. The period starts on the original date of the delinquency or the date the payment was missed.

Can a ten-year-old debt still be collected?

The statute of limitations for a debt usually expires after ten years. Most states allow debt collectors to continue pursuing unpaid debts even after the statute of limitations has passed. As long as they don't break the law in doing so, they are allowed to contact you via phone or mail to encourage you to pay the debt.

Because you technically still owe the loan, a debt collector might continue to try to collect it. They cannot, however, file a lawsuit against you or even threaten to do so because the deadline has gone.

What is a person who has no money to pay off his debts one word?

Insolvency, bankruptcy, and defaulter are all used to describe someone unable to pay their debts. This occurs when a person's liabilities are greater than the value of his assets. On the one hand, the terms bankrupt and defaulter are used in everyday language, while insolvent is used in legal vocabulary.

What can a debt collector say in a voicemail?

Any communication from a debt collector must identify them under the FDCPA. As a result, they must provide their identity, the collecting agency's name, and phone number. They must also mention that the communication is being made to recover a debt.

How many times a day can a creditor call you before it becomes harassment?

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) limits how often a debt collector can call you after 2023. In short, the collector cannot contact you more than seven times in seven days or within seven days of communicating with you regarding the debt.

How many collection calls is harassment?

Creditors can't call you more than seven times in 7 days or call you again about the debt within seven days of the last call. If the debt collector calls you more than once a day or keeps calling even when you talk to them on the phone, they are probably harassing you.

Is calling someone 20 times harassment?

It definitely counts as abuse. The new Debt Collection Rule from the CFPB says that if a debt collector calls you more than seven times in seven days to try to collect on a debt, they are breaking the law and bothering you.

At what point is it harassment from debt collectors?

Debt collectors must follow some limitations while collecting debts from you. They can't bother you or hurt you in any way. They can't swear, threaten to hurt you or your property unfairly, tell you they'll do something wrong, or tell you they'll do something they don't plan to do. They also can't call you a lot in a short amount of time to annoy or bother you. If any of the above things happen to you, it is definitely harassment.

How do I stop collection harassment?

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) says that debt collectors can't call you repeatedly or talk to you on the phone if their goal is to annoy, abuse, or bother you. If it happens, it is a good idea to send a report to your state agency dealing with creditor harassment.

You must also provide copies to the original creditor and the collection agent. Sometimes, the debt collector might be willing to forgive the debt if you drop the charge. This is because they may be worried about their liability.

Should you ignore collection calls?

Even though getting a call from a debt collector might be scary, talking to them can help you learn more about the bill. If you ignore or avoid the debt collector, they probably won't stop calling you, and they may try to get the money from you in other ways, like filing a lawsuit.

What happens if you ignore collection calls?

If a debt collector calls you, you should answer immediately, even if you don't owe the money. If you don't, the collector could keep trying to get you to pay, report negative things about you to credit reporting companies, or even sue you. You can't be arrested for not paying your bills, but the longer you ignore debt collectors, the more likely they will sue you to get the money you owe them.

Can I record my conversation with a debt collector?

Federal law 18 U.S. Code § 2511 says that one person must agree and give his/her consent to record a phone call. That means you can record the call as long as you participate. You can also record the talk if one of the people on the line agrees to it.

Do debt collectors have a reputation for harassing people?

Debt collectors have a reputation, which is sometimes justified, for being annoying, rude, and even scary when they try to get people to pay back what they owe. The federal government passed the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) to stop these annoying and unfair practices.

Do debt collectors give up?

If the debt isn't paid, the person trying to claim it doesn't get paid. Even though you might think that debt collectors might give up at some point, they are known to be very persistent. The statute of limitations is a law that says how long debt collectors have to sue people for not paying their debts. But many debt collectors will keep pushing you until they are paid and may try to trick you.

What percentage will a debt collector accept?

You might be able to settle for significantly lower than the average of 48% in some situations. Collectors with old debts might be ready to settle for 20% or even less. The statute of limitations will initiate when the debt first becomes delinquent.

What happens if you hang up on a debt collector?

FDCPA lets you hang up on bill collectors when they call you. They can't do anything about it if you don't answer their calls. If a collector keeps calling you, they are breaking the FDCPA. You can instruct debt collectors to stop calling you and ask them to stay in touch in writing instead.

Is it okay to block debt collectors?

If you ignore or stop a debt collector, they will probably file a case against you in court to get the money. So, you can avoid a case if you send a Debt Validation Letter and ask for a debt verification.

Can you be rude to debt collectors?

Keeping calm is best, mainly when speaking to a debt collector who is rude or pushy. Debt collectors are taught to be able to handle being harassed by customers, so becoming angry won't help. The debt collector will still call you.

What should you not say to debt collectors?

Do not give out or validate personal or private financial information like your bank account, credit card number, or full Social Security number until you're sure the company or individual you speak to is a real debt collector.

What is the 11-word phrase to stop debt collectors?

In reality, no magic words can stop a bill collector from trying to get the money. The 11-word phrase that is popular for stopping debt collectors is - "Please cease and desist all calls and contact with me immediately."

How bad is it to have debt in collections?

Your credit score will go down a lot if you have a lot of accounts in collections. Unsecured accounts may face collections, like credit cards and personal loans. In comparison, you'll lose your home or car if you don't repay a secured loan, like a mortgage or an auto loan.

Can collections hurt you?

FICO says that a collection will hurt your score more the more recent it is. On average, collections can stay on a credit report for up to seven years. Debts are sometimes passed from one debt collector to another.

How do you win against a collection agency?

If a debt collector sues you, here are five ways you can fight back and win in court:

  1. Respond to the court and address the lawsuit.
  2. Challenge the debt collector and let him/her prove the charges against you.
  3. Gather information on the statute of limitations in that state and submit it to the court.
  4. File a motion to compel arbitration.
  5. Negotiate a settlement offer.

How do you outsmart a debt collector?

Most people don't know how to talk to debt collectors in a way that doesn't make things worse, and collectors know this. They are counting on you, not knowing how to stay safe from their plans.

If you follow these tips, you can trick debt collectors:

  • Keep track of everything you say to debt collectors.
  • Send a Debt Validation Letter to them to confirm that you owe the money.
  • Write a cease and desist letter.
  • Explain why the debt isn't valid.
  • Look at the information on your credit.
  • Explain that you cannot afford to pay.
  • Check to see if they have your new address on file.

How do I stop debt collectors from harassing me without paying?

If the debt isn't yours, inform the debt collector via a written note within 30 days of getting a validation letter that you disagree with the debt. The debt collection can't keep trying to get you to pay until they give you proof that you don't owe the money.

After you get the letter and ensure that the debt is yours and the statute of limitations hasn't passed, see if the debt collection will settle for a smaller amount if you pay upfront. Ask if you can set up a payment plan if they still want the total amount.

What happens if you never pay collections?

If you don't pay a bill that is being collected, you could be sued and have your bank account or wages taken from you. You could even lose your home or other property. Your credit score will also go down. If you aren't paying because you don't have the money, know that you still have choices!

Most of the time, the statute of limitations has passed if you don't pay a bill for ten years. You still legally owe the debt, and debt collectors may try to get it from you, but they usually can't go to court to do so.

Where you may report collection abuse?

You can contact the DFPI at or file a report at if you have a problem with a debt collector or think you have been mistreated, illegally, deceptively, or abusively by a debt collection agency.

  • expertise badge
  • TrustLink logoTrustLink logo
  • Customer ratings on BBB
  • IAPDA logo
  • Calchamber Member
  • Calbar Registered
  • D&B
  • Trustpilot
  • yelp logo