Debt Collector Leaving Messages

Debt Collectors Leaving Messages on Home Answering Machines

Are debt collectors leaving messages? Debt collectors are prohibited from calling certain places or discussing your information with third parties and can only call between 8:00 am and 9:00 P.M.
Bill collectors and creditors collecting their own debts can leave messages on personal answering machines located in your home, even though other family members or visiting friends and relatives might hear the message. Although the message does not need to contain information other than the name of the caller and a number to call back, comments such as “it’s urgent” or “it’s important” and leaving a brief reason for the call do not violate the law. For instance, “This is Mr. Collector with Default collections. I’m calling about your overdue credit card payment. It’s urgent that you return my call today so we can discuss bringing your account current. My phone number is 555-1234.

Calling several times a day to leave a message (on a machine or with a person other than you or your spouse) does not violate the FDCPA. If collectors call and actually speak with you or your spouse, then calling again that day without a legitimate purpose, might be considered harassment

Leaving threatening or abusive messages including abusive language, religious slurs, profanity, obscenity, calling the consumer a liar or a deadbeat, or other name calling, threatening legal action that they do not intend to take and the use of racial or sexual epithets are serious violations of the FDCPA. See more here: abuse tactics

Special Note: Making threats to children is an especially grievous violation of the FDCPA and should not go unreported. Report collectors who threaten you, your children or anyone associated with you, to your State Attorney General immediately.

Leaving Messages on Answering Machines at Work:

Bill collectors can call you at work unless you or your employer have told them otherwise so, the information presented below assumes that the collector has NOT been told to stop calling. Collectors who continue calling your work after being told to stop are violating the FDCPA.

If you have a private phone at work that only you answer and collectors know the number to this phone, it is the only number they can legally use to call you at work. Calling any other number is designed to embarrass you and is a clear violation of the FDCPA. If your private phone has an answering machine attached or a private voice mail feature (that no one else can access), collectors can leave messages. The same rules about the type of message and content as outlined above still apply…threatening or abusive messages are illegal.

If you use a phone at work that can be accessed by anyone else, it’s considered a public use phone. Collectors must be very careful about the type of message they leave on public use phones. They can leave a message but the only thing the message should include is the collector’s name and number. NO reference to the debt is allowed! The tone of the message must be non-threatening and any hint that the call is about the collection of a debt is illegal!

14 comments

  1. I have a question on debt collector calls to wrong numbers and the message they leave on the answering machine. It seems that these agencies fish for info from anyone with a similar name. Is there any law against this. I keep getting calls from collectors for somebody who has a similar name.

    • You may have experienced a Fair Debt violation(s), the Debt Help Lawyers at this site can provide you a free, no obligation Fair Debt consultation. Give us a call and let’s figure out how to get you some real help, you may be entitled to $1,000 or more! Make the collector follow the law or pay you, call us at 888-595-9111 and we’ll get you taken care of.

  2. I have been receiving numerous calls from Calvery Portfolio for over 6 months now on my cell phone; a number I have had now for over ten years. I never answer as I have zero debt, and they usually never leave a message. Once a man left a message for a woman who is not me, nor anyone I know. It stated that if you are not ‘So-and-So’, please hang up now. I did not because I would like these calls to end. He stated he was calling for several outstanding debts with various companies and for her to give him a call back. I didn’t. Now today, about 1-2 months later, I get another call (not the first, but the first to leave another message). The messages states it’s for the same person, and if I’m not that person to hang up and not listen further. Naturally I listened because they’re leaving messages on my number. It was the same thing. My question to you is this: Can I call them and address this even though I’m not this person? I don’t want my number constantly called and I’m going on almost a year now of these phone calls. Thank you for your advice. It is greatly appreciated. Lorraine.

    • Call us for help at no cost to you, it sounds like you have TCPA and FDCPA claims and are entitled to GET PAID and get them to stop (unfortunately, it often takes a lawyer to get things like this done) but you can find lawyers to help free here. 888-595-9111.

  3. I am a co-signer on my grandson’s student loan. The loan is thru a private bank. The debt collector repeatedly calls my home phone number and leaves messages stating the debtor’s name, the file number, and the fact that they are a collection agency trying to collect a debt. Other individuals visit me and hear these messages(I do not answer the phone personally). Thus, other individuals unrelated to the debt in any way now have obtained very sensitive personal information. Is it legal for the debt collection agency to leave such specific messages with my grandson’s name and the file number on my phone? Are they not limited as to what info they are allowed to leave when calling?

    • You may have experienced a Fair Debt violation(s), the Debt Help Lawyers at this site can provide you a free, no obligation Fair Debt consultation. Give us a call and let’s figure out how to get you some real help, you may be entitled to $1,000 or more! Make the collector follow the law or pay you, call us at 888-595-9111 and we’ll get you taken care of.

  4. Hi
    I have an issue with Target- Credit they claim that it’s illegal for them to leave a message on my answering machine. I never received any correspondence until months later that there was an issue with my account. They also locked me out of my online account so I could not look into the issue they are claiming. Now I have a bunch of charges that could have been avoided MONTHS ago. I talked to their collection dept she claims they called but was illegal to leave a message. So I said to her how am I’m suppose to know there is a issue when I didn’t receive any correspondence until now a letter in the mail. Asked why they didn’t contact months prior, no real reply from her.
    I also talked to a supervisor, he claimed he was the highest person to talk to regarding this matter and that there was NOTHING they can do to remove any fees charges. This is also effecting my credit score.

    What can I do to resolve this issue?

    I have received message in the pass if there was an issue with my account. They asked me to just give them a call.

    Is it illegal to leave a basic message on my answering machine in the state of Maryland?

    • Something doesn’t sound right here. Please send us a copy of the collection letter, we’ll have an attorney review the letter and determine if they have violated your consumer rights. 888-595-9111

  5. i have a debit collector that calls all week even Sunday’s. And now leaving messages on my phone that it is for a debt. I use my phone for work. And on my answering machine it never states my name. How would they know it’s the right person

    • Save the voicemails and we can have an attorney listen to the messages. There are specific things collectors must say and many more they can’t say when leaving a collection voice mail. If they have violated your rights, we may be able to recover a damage award of up to $1000. All at NO COST. give us a call, we’ve handled these types of cases thousands of times.

  6. I have a debt collector attempting to contact me for a credit card. They leave messages to my cell phone often. Yesterday they contacted my mother on her cell phone and left a voicemail staying that they were trying to get in contact with me. Is this legal?

    • Save the voice mail and give us a call, you may have experienced a Fair Debt violation(s), the Debt Help Lawyers at this site can provide you a free, no obligation Fair Debt consultation. Call us now at 888-595-9111 and we will get started figuring out how to help you!

      • Hi Anthony this is Katie Moore calling again just wanted to let you know sorry I’m on my way out to serve you with these documents now I left a couple messages yesterday and I never did receive a stop order so I just wanna remind you I will be coming to your job or your home address either way you’ll need to be available for with a form of ID if I do need to come to your place of employment make sure your supervisor managers will be available I will need one of them present.

        And you can contact other phone party and it’s gonna be your last opportunity that number is (888) 218-5096 your case number certifying 566977.

        Now if you’re gonna call them please do this immediately I need a stop order from them within the next hour or so I will be out to serve you.

        • This is a common tactic of a nonviable debt collector. Have you spoken with this collector? Have they sent any collection letters? Do you know what the debt is that they allege you owe? Have you disputed the debt in writing?
          We are always happy to review the facts of this attempted collection to determine if they have violated your rights. Please give one of our legal assistants a call and share the answers to the above questions, we’ll have a lawyer determine if you have a claim against this company. If we can help, it’s at no cost to you and we may be able to recover a damage award of up to $1000, give us a call at 888-595-9111

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