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Communication in Connection with Debt Collection (15 USC 1692c)

The FDCPA regulates, and even limits, the methods and amount of communication in connection with debt collection (15 USC 1692c). Stop illegal collection calls by learning all you can about section 1692c of the FDCPA. And if you think your rights have been violated by too many calls, calls at the wrong times and places, or for any other reason, consult with a fair debt attorney–you might be entitled to damages.

  1. Collection calls to consumers ( AKA Debtors ) – FDCPA 1692c(a):
  2. Collection calls third parties – FDCPA 1692c(b):
  3. Stopping collector calls – FDCPA 1692c(c):
  4. Definition of Debtor – FDCPA 1692c(d):
  5. Discussion of the call rules

1. Section 1692c(a): Collection calls to consumers ( AKA Debtors )

Unless you consent or a court order permits, debt collectors may not call to collect a debt:

(1). at any time or place which is unusual or known to be inconvenient to you. 8 a.m. – 9 p.m. is presumed to be convenient;
(2). when he knows you are represented by an attorney with respect to the debt, unless the attorney fails to respond to the communication in a reasonable time period, and
(3). at work if he knows your employer prohibits such contacts.

1. Communicating:
For purposes of this section, the term “communicate” is given its commonly accepted meaning and includes phone calls and messages. Thus, the section applies to contacts with the consumer related to the collection of the debt, whether or not the debt is specifically mentioned. [53 Fed. Reg. 50104]

2. Inconvenient or unusual times or places
(Section 1692c(a)(1)). A debt collector may not call the consumer at any time, or on any particular day, if he has credible information (from the consumer or elsewhere) that it is inconvenient. If the debt collector does not have such information, a call on Sunday is not per se illegal.

The purpose of this section is to limit collection calls to normal business (work) days which are usually Monday – Friday. If this is your normal work schedule then you could inform the collector that calls on Saturday and Sunday are inconvenient and the collector must then consider these days as “no collection call days”.

If your normal workdays are Wednesday – Sunday, then collectors can reasonably assume that calling on Saturday and Sunday are not inconvenient. However, if you tell them otherwise they must not call. But, this does not mean you can say every day of the week is inconvenient. It’s acceptable to have one or two days that are inconvenient but not all week.

A first-time call on a “no collection call day”, does not violate the fdcpa. But, after informing collectors of your off-limits days, they call a second time on your “no call” day, they are in violation of the fair debt act.

3. Consumer represented by attorney
(Section 1692c (a)(2)). When debt collectors learn that you are represented by an attorney in connection with the debt, even if not formally notified of this fact, they must only contact your attorney.

Debt collectors who know you are represented by counsel with respect to one debt are not required to assume similar representation on your other debts; however, if you notify debt collectors that your attorney has been retained to represent you for all other debts placed with them, they must deal only with that attorney.

Creditors may know that you have an attorney but they are not obligated to inform the debt collector of this fact – this is your responsibility.

4. Calls at work
(Section 1692(a)(3)). Debt collectors may not call you at work if they have reason to know your employer forbids such communication (e.g., you or your employer has verbally informed them).

2. Section 1692(b) — Communication with third parties

Unless you consent, or a court order or section 804 permits, “or as reasonably necessary to effectuate a post-judgment judicial remedy,” debt collectors “may not communicate, in connection with the collection of any debt, with any person other than you, your attorney, a consumer reporting agency if otherwise permitted by law, your creditor, the attorney of the creditor, and the attorney of the debt collector.”

1. Consumer consent to the third party contact.
Your consent to third party contact does not have to be writing. For example, if third parties volunteer that you have authorized them to pay on your account, then the debt collector may normally presume your consent, and accept the payment and provide a receipt to the party that makes the payment. However, consent may not be inferred only from your inaction when the debt collector requests such consent.

2. Location information.
Although a debt collector’s search for information concerning the consumer’s location (provided in section 804) is expressly excepted from the ban on third party contacts, debt collectors may not call third parties under the pretense of gaining information already in his possession.

3. Incidental contacts with telephone operator or telegraph clerk.
Debt collectors may contact an employee of a telephone or telegraph company in order to contact the consumer, without violating the prohibition on communication to third parties, if the only information given is that necessary to enable the collector to transmit the message to, or make the contact with, the consumer.

4. Accessibility by third party
Debt collectors may not send written messages that are easily accessible to third parties. For example, computerized billing statements that can be seen on the envelope itself.

They may use an “in care of” letter only if you live at, or accept mail at, the other party’s address.

Debt collectors do not violate this provision when an eavesdropper overhears a conversation with the consumer, unless the debt collector has reason to anticipate the conversation will be overhead.

5. Non-excepted parties.
A debt collector may discuss the debt only with the parties specified in this section (consumer, creditor, a party’s attorney, or credit bureau). For example, unless you authorize the communication, they may not discuss your debt (such as a dishonored check) with a bank, or make a report on a consumer to a nonprofit counseling service.

6. Judicial remedy.
The words “as reasonably necessary to effectuate a post-judgment judicial remedy” mean a communication necessary for execution or enforcement of the remedy. Bill collection companies may NOT send a copy of the judgment to an employer, except as part of a formal service of papers to achieve a garnishment or other remedy.

7. Audits or inquiries.
Bill collection agencies may disclose their files to a government official or an auditor, to respond to an inquiry or conduct an audit, because the disclosure would not be “in connection with the collection of any debt.”

8. Communications by attorney.
An attorney who represents either a creditor or debt collector that has previously tried to collect an account may communicate his efforts to collect the account to the debt collector. Because the section permits a debt collector to communicate with “the attorney of the creditor, or the attorney of the debt collector,” communications between these parties (even if the attorney is also a debt collector) are not forbidden.

An attorney may communicate with a potential witness in connection with a lawsuit he has filed (e.g., in order to establish the existence of a debt), because the section was not intended to prohibit communications by attorneys that are necessary to conduct lawsuits on behalf of their clients.

3. Section 1692(c) — Ceasing collection calls and communication

Once debt collection agents receive written notice from a consumer that he or she refuses to pay the debt or wants the collection agent to stop further collection efforts, the agent must cease any further communication with the consumer except

“(1) to advise the consumer that the debt collection agency’s further efforts are being terminated;

(2) to notify the consumer that the debt collection agency or creditor may invoke specified remedies which are ordinarily invoked by such debt collection agency or creditor; or

(3) where applicable, to notify the consumer that the debt collection agency or creditor intends to invoke a specified remedy.”

1. Communicating
For purposes of this section, the term “communicate” is given its commonly accepted meaning and includes phone calls and messages. Thus, the section applies to contacts with the consumer related to the collection of the debt, whether or not the debt is specifically mentioned. [53 Fed. Reg. 50104]

2. Request for payment.
When responding to a “cease communication” notice from you they may not include a demand for payment! Their response is limited to the three statutory exceptions outlined above.

4. Section 1692(d) — “debtor” definition

For section 1692 purposes, the term “debtor” includes the “debtor’s spouse, and if debtor is a minor, the minor’s parents , legal guardian, executor, or administrator.”

Broad “debtor” definition. Because of the broad statutory definition of “debtor” for the purposes of this section, many of its protections extend to parties close to the consumer. For example, the debt collection agents may not call the debtor’s spouse at a time or place known to be inconvenient to the spouse. Conversely, he may call the spouse (guardian, executor, etc.) at any time or place that would be in accordance with the limitations of section 1692(a).

Discussion of the call rules

Many spouses ask if collectors violate the FDCPA by discussing their unpaid debts with their husband or wife. The answer, found in section 1692(d) is, it’s not a violation even if the debt existed prior to the marriage or the spouse is not on the credit contract. They can legally discuss details of debts with spouses and, in the case of a minors (less than 18 years old), they can discuss the issue with the child’s parents, guardian or executor.

Typical Scenario

A collector, looking for a male debtor, calls the debtor’s home and a female answers. Unless the female identifies herself as someone other than the debtor’s spouse, the caller can reasonable, and legally assume she is the debtor’s spouse and continue discussing the debt.

However, if the female had identified herself as someone other than the spouse (or authorized 3rd party), the caller must cease all communication about your debt. He can leave a generic message (name and number).

Specific Remedies:
The term “invoke specified remedies” refers to any actions ordinarily invoked by the bill collection agencies or creditors. Choices range from dropping, closing, selling, returning or transferring the account and can include seeking a court-ordered judgment.

If you believe you are a victim of unfair or illegal debt collection tactics, submit your information to a FREE* Fair Debt Lawyer by:

The debt collector may just be liable to you for statutory damages of to $1,000, plus any actual damages suffered, plus attorney fees!

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  1. Can they call my spouse at work about my debt?

    • Thank you for your question, disclosing the debt to third parties and contacting you at work may be a violation of your fair debt rights and it may entitle you to up to $1,000 or more from each debt collector, and that debt collector will have to pay your attorneys so it costs you nothing out of pocket.
      Call 888-595-9111 one of our legal assistants is available to listen and share options you have, the attorneys are happy to consult you for free and without obligation.

  2. I recently got word from a person who works in the office of where I sub-contract with. This person was not the one who answered the phone! The caller was discussing a debt and threatening garnishment,I am NOT an employee of this company. Is this allowed?

    • I’m not following your question, are you being garnished? or is this information that a collector has shared with you about a colleague? You may have experienced some sort of 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 at 888-595-9111 and we will get started figuring our how to help you!

  3. If I had settled a debt with them and told them they could not call my cell phone for that debt or any other issue can they call me about my wife’s account? And don’t they have to verify more than an address to discuss said information.

    • 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.


    • Save the Voice mail they left for you, it may contain evidence. 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! Please call us at 888-595-9111 and we’ll get you taken care of.

  5. Hello how many times a day can the call without leaving a message ? As soon as the recorder picks up they hang up.they call like 10 times a day sometimes three times in a row. Thank you

    • The federal law ban harassment, and it sounds like you are being harassed. Depending on your state, you may gave other rights too. Give us a call, let’s gather some additional facts and we’ll get you help. 888-595-9111.

  6. I’m getting called by a debt collector 4-5 times a day, 5 and sometimes 6 days a week. I’m making small payments but they still call daily even after I asked them to stop. How often is too often for them to call?

  7. I’ve enrolled my unsecured debt into a debt settlement relief program, and as instructed by my representative, I changed the mailing address and phone number to theirs. I don’t get very many calls as they are intercepted by my debt relief agency. However, there have been multiple calls to an old work number I had years ago – that number was reassigned to one of my Directors 10 years ago. his voice message clearly identifies who he is and that it is a work number, yet they still leave messages on his phone asking for me. He has forwarded a couple of the voice messages to me, and told me he has answered several of the calls and given them my work number. Can collectors call a work number, know that number is for another person from the voice message, yet still leave messages asking for me to call them back regarding a “private financial matter”? That Director has become annoyed at receiving those calls, and I could get in real trouble with my employer if they continue.

  8. I received an email from a third party collection agency, posing as an attorney. He informed me that I have 48 hours to pay 698.00 to this company or I will be arrested at my place of employment. I have also received calls from third party collection agency at my work and home, and so has a few of my co-workers. This debt that he is trying to collect on was from 2001, and it was covered under my bankruptcy. How can I get this person to stop calling, sending me threatening emails and calling my co-workers?

  9. Dave Ramsey said that the creditor can call you only once every two weeks according to the FDCPA. Is this true?

  10. I am being called on Saturday. I’ve been keeping my call VM messages on my cell phone. I have been called every day and up to 3 times per day. I finally called them back because I wanted to know who they represented and they said a Pay Day Loan in 2012. I have not taken out a pay day loan way longer then that. They say they are a Global Services Mediation firm. I’m in the process of sending them a proof of debt letter. They even have called my daughter in another state several times. She is not a well person. I told her to keep the messages on her phone as proof. Anything for me to do? I told the mediation company that I don’t know that I owe the debt they are referencing they need to send me something in writing. They said they have and they are not going to do it anymore. If I don’t resolve this today, with a settlement, then it will go to a collection company and they will take me to court. I will wait for your reply before sending my letter.

  11. i have a question. if i told the debt colllector to stop contacting me and then he was asking to set up a payment schedule after having made such a request is he breaking the law?

  12. I recently got a new boyfriend and we moved in together. I moved cross country to be with him and never gave my creditor my new address. My new boyfriend was never listed on any of my references for a debt; I didn’t even know him at the time. My boyfriend’s mother (also in a completely different state) received a phone call from my creditor asking for my boyfriend by name! His mother asked which person they were speaking of because her husband and my boyfriend share the same name. They asked for the son. She demanded to know why because my boyfriend is in the military and hasn’t lived at home in 18 years. They told her it had to do with me and spoke about my debt to her. Are they allowed to stalk your friends and contact them and speak of your debt? I don’t know how they got his information because he is not on social media. I don’t know if they somehow found my new address and saw his vehicle in front of our house and ran his license plates then tried to find contact info or what. I feel very violated at this point.

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