What Is Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)?

Are you being harassed by debt collectors? Are they calling you incessantly at odd hours? Do not worry. Did you know there is an agency meant to protect you against such practices?

Check out this guide on what is Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and thank us later.

What Is Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)?

Key Takeaways

  • Debt collectors may not make a threat to sue a debtor unless they plan to prosecute that person.
  • FDCPA works toward protecting the debtor while also allowing the debt collector to get their money.
  • If your debt collector cannot reach you, they may contact your friends and relatives.
  • Collectors can contact third parties just once and are not allowed to use lies and filthy words.

What is Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)?

What is Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is special federal legislation that oversees and governs the act of collecting debts on behalf of other people or organizations by third-party debt collectors.

This federal law puts a limit on the ways of contact with debtors by debt collectors and the amount of time they can call the debtors.

If anyone violates this federal law, the debtor then has the right to sue both the debt collection firm and the individual debt collector for any monetary and legal expense. 1

How Does It Work?

The FDCPA is not about shielding debtors from those seeking to collect their personal debt.

For example, if you owe money to your local computer repair shop and the shop owner calls you to collect the debt, this owner is not seen as a debt collector under federal law.

The FDCPA only protects debt collectors who are working for a third party, like a debt collection agency.

The law applies to credit card debt, medical expenses, school loans, mortgages, and other types of household debt. 2

Read: 10 Best Debt Relief Companies Of 2023

Types of Protections Offered By FDCPA

Types of Protections Offered By FDCPA

The FDCPA offers various types of protection to ensure that you are not harassed or abused by them.

Debt Validation

The first and most important right that the FDCPA offers you is a chance to validate your debt.

After a debt collector contacts you, they must send you a written notice containing the following:

  • Name of the original creditor.
  • The amount you owe.
  • A statement that says you have only 30 days to dispute the claim.
  • Lastly, information on how one can dispute debt collection.

If you think the debt isn’t yours, then you must dispute it. Otherwise, you might get into serious unnecessary trouble.

How to dispute a debt collection?


When a debt collector reaches you, they cannot be dishonest. They cannot legally exaggerate your circumstances, pretend to be your attorney, lie about the status of your debt, etc.

The last point here holds more importance because after a certain period of time, your debt time is barred, and you do not have to pay your debt then.

If the debt collector lies to you about your debt’s legal status, then it may lead to resetting the clock on the debt.

Protection from Harassment or Abuse

A debt collector cannot abuse you, call you at odd hours, or shame you in front of anyone. If they do any of these things, they would be violating the law.


The FDCPA restricts debt collectors from contacting you during odd hours. For example, they are not allowed to call you before 9 am and after 8 pm unless you permit them.

Additionally, they are not allowed to contact you in the following cases:

  • You have sent a written letter to them asking them not to call you.
  • You have told them your office does not allow personal phone calls.
  • When you are represented by an attorney and they are aware of it.

Other Conditions

Debtors can also ask debt collectors not to contact their personal phones in their homes, but this process must happen in writing where they will put it in writing and mail it to the debt collector.

You should send this letter with certified mail to get a return receipt so that you can have the special confirmation of the debt collector receiving your request.

When or if a debt collector does not have any contact information of the debtor, the debt collector can try and get their contact information through relatives, neighbors, or friends, but the debtor cannot reveal anything about the debt, including that they are from a debt collection agency.

Furthermore, collectors are only permitted to contact third parties once. Furthermore, debt collectors may not make a threat to sue a debtor unless they plan to prosecute that person. 2

What Type Of Collections Does the FDCPA Cover?

What Type Of Collections Does the FDCPA Cover

The FDCPA covers the following types of debt:

  • Student loans
  • Medical debt
  • Mortgages
  • Personal debt
  • Payday loans
  • Credit card debt
  • Car loans

What To Do When Your FDCPA Rights Are Violated?

If a debt collector violates your FDCPA rights, then here’s what you can do:

  • Sue the creditor in the state or federal court.
  • Report the same in the state’s attorney general office.
  • File a complaint to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

For any additional help, you can reach out to your local state attorney, who specializes in dealing with such cases. 3

The Verdict

Fair Debt Collection Practices4 Act works solely toward protecting the debtor while also allowing the debt collector to get their money as smooth and easy as possible.

At this point, there are several things that both sides need to take care of and always follow through such as the debt collector can not give any information regarding the debt to anyone else besides the debtor and their spouses, while the debtor must do everything, including their request of no contact, legally and in writing to have the proof of the debt collector getting those letters.

If one side fails to do something, it might create major legal problems that both sides will have to work hard to fix.

However, this federal law does not protect simple debts such as the money you owe to a local business or to a friend.


What are aggressive debt collection tactics?

Some aggressive debt collection tactics include:

  • Calling you repeadtedly
  • Shouting obscenities at you
  • Defaming you in public
  • Threatening to arrest you

Can a debt collector physically come at my workplace?

No, debt collectors are prohibited from visiting your workplace or business place.

They are even prohibited from calling you when you are at your workplace, and have informed them that you are not allowed to take personal calls while at work.

Why is a debt collector calling me?

The most common reasons why a debt collector might be calling you are:

  • A creditor thinks you are past your due date. As such, they can either ask their in-house debt collectors to call you or hire third-party collectors.
  • They might be calling you to locate someone you know who hasn’t paid their debt. 5
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  1. https://www.ftc.gov/legal-library/browse/rules/fair-debt-collection-practices-act-text[]
  2. https://www.investopedia.com/terms/f/fair-debt-collection-practices-act-fdcpa.asp[][]
  3. https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/what-can-you-do-if-debt-collector-violates-the-fdcpa.html#:~:text=Report%20the%20Action%20to%20a%20Government%20Agency&text=Consumers%20can%20contact%20the%20FTC,Financial%20Protection%20Bureau%20(CFPB).[]
  4. https://www.federalreserve.gov/boarddocs/supmanual/cch/fairdebt.pdf[]
  5. https://www.consumerfinance.gov/ask-cfpb/what-is-a-debt-collector-and-why-are-they-contacting-me-en-330/[]
  6. https://www.consumerfinance.gov/ask-cfpb/what-is-a-debt-collector-and-why-are-they-contacting-me-en-330/[]

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