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Debt Collector Leaving Messages

Debt Collectors Leaving Messages on Answering Machines

Are debt collectors leaving messages? If the answer is “yes,” always save those voice messages. Collection voice mails  may be evidence your federal consumer protection rights have been violated and you might be entitled to cash compensation. Two federal laws–the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”)–are often violated by a bill collector voice mails.

For example, if the debt collector did not have your express consent to computer dial or auto dial you, each message you have could  be worth between $500 and $1,500 under the TCPA.

Similarly, 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. If you have a voice mail showing a collector did any of these things you might be entitled to up to $1,000 or more under the FDCPA.

Bill collectors and creditors collecting their own debts have strict requirements to meet when they leave messages on personal answering machines. The message needs to make certain specific disclosures and cannot leave comments such as “it’s urgent” or make misrepresentations about the nature of the call. 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” VIOLATES THE LAW. Also, others located in your home or such as other family members, friends or relatives might hear the message.

Calling several times a day to leave a message (on a machine or with a person other than you or your spouse) will also likely 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 as well.

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!

confidential informationThere may be instances where discussing your situation over a public forum could potentially compromise your interests. On these occasions we will contact you directly via email in order to answer your inquiry in a confidential manner.


  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

  7. I had someone call me twice leaving two messages saying “My name is Mr. Jenkins and this is the second attempt to contact regarding a loan from blank company for the amount of blank. Since you have not ressponded I will send everything to blank courts.” Are they allowed to day this?

  8. I have a collection agency calling me. After making arrangements for the payments. They call my moms house leaving a very detailed message saying. I owe them $$$.$$ past due amount and that action is required right away. Are they allowed to call my moms house and leave her a voicemail without talking directly to me ?

  9. Can a debt collector leave file # about a supposed claim they have against you on a 3rd party’s answering machine? Message states ” if this is not so & so please hang up” then leaves all information pertaining to the call.

  10. I have warned a collector not to call me at work and he keeps calling leaving messaging indicating how far I am behind on my bills and they gone repossess my cars
    and he also stated he know I am embarrassed that he calls my job but he gone keep calling until I pay..
    is he in violation

  11. I have 3 phone numbers that call my cell phone, Two of the numbers are ***4350 & 4352 I’m sure they are all the same debt collector. They or a random machine calls but they never leave a message. I have noted every one with the times and dates… Is this legal ?

  12. Every day I receive one to two calls from the same person from two different numbers. He only leaves a message one on of the calls but he’s made the mistake of not consistently leaving the message from only one number which is how I know both calls are from the same source.

    The message is brief and has a slightly condescending tone and typically says: “I have contacted you repeatedly and you have not returned my calls. My number is ## please call back regarding an urgent business matter.”

    I assume it’s a debt collector. So I changed my voicemail to say. “I’m unavailable, please leave a detailed message. If you are a representative please leave the name of your company, your name, your contact information, the general purpose of your call, and the name of the company for whom you are on behalf. Without this information I will not return your call, ‘urgent business matter’ is not informative enough.”

    I was expecting to get a message today that stated “this is blah blah, I work for blah blah credit recovery on behalf of blah blah.”

    But instead the message I got was the same generic nonsense with the new addition of a case number, more condescension of me avoiding his call and a patronizing addendum that went “leaving confidential information like my company and the reason for my call is illegal, I’m surprised you didn’t know that.”

    This has made me curious. Leaving information like his employer and a general reason ie: debt collection, doesn’t seem at all like it would be too confidential for a voice mail message. A dollar amount and my SIN number would obviously be confidential. But that’s not what I requested.

    It’s obviously a tactic to get me on the phone but I’m wondering how much of what he said has merit. Anyone else not trying to suck some money out of you would have no issue leaving a company name…

    • Disclosing that one is a debt collector on a voicemail where one does not identify themselves in the voicemail message is a violation of FDCPA. As such, the collector did their job.

      Source: I supervise debt collectors 🙂

  13. My husband received a message from what may be a debt collector but it was very scarey and I took it as a threat to my family’s safety I’m even afraid to call the number back. Help should I call the police

  14. Just received a phone call from a Jonathon Harris -from 302-319-4119 whom left a msg on a public phone with my last 4 of my social and detailed account information. Then received a call from my sister stating that he called her cell phone number leaving detailed information in regards to my debt. I then contacted the number left and told him he had violated my rights to which he replied that when I gave that information to his client I gave him the right to call my place of employment to which I replied that I specifically told his client that I could not receive those types of calls at my workplace. Then he stated that he was not gonna argue with me and that I should have called and paid my bills and called me a B***h.

  15. I received voicemail stating “Hello this is (collector) from (company) if you would like to continue to stay in your vehicle I need a return call today by 8pm my number is ” hangs up. Auto Loan Payment was 37 days past due …. Is this Legal for her to say? Its seems very harassing I didn’t think it was legal to threaten over the phone with repossession.

  16. my mother got a title loan, She was making monthly payments when she fell behind due to a major car accident. She used me as a reference and the call me a couple times a week asking the same questions over and over again. They also call my mother up to 4 times a day. What can I do? Please help.

  17. I got several text messages on my personal cell phone from the manager of a loan company after I had called to set up payments..I text him back to insure the payment was set up for the correct date and time..was strange that he even sent me a text about my account. On the day the payment was to be made he didn’t call me to confirm like he said he was gonna do..he debited my checking account after I asked for a conformation call first..is this legal??? Should he even text my phone from his personal cell phone about my account???

  18. How about this one, is it legit? I don’t have anything on my credit report, and his vagueness seems like a red flag. He has called and left messages before saying that he was going to serve me at work. I tried to call back once, and only got a very vague message on a machine. I did not leave a message.

    Here is what he left on my voicemail:

    Hi, this is Chris Tomlin(?) I am contacting you in regards to this issue of the complaint. I have not heard from the filing party, as to if the matter has been resolved or not. I’m assuming your blatant lack of correspondence or silence is a direct refusal to cooperate. At this point, we will (something I couldn’t understand) and proceed in accordance of state and federal law. If the matter has been resolved voluntarily without my notification, you need to contact the filing party to get this resolved. Once again, if I do not hear from them, I am to assume I am to move forward with the service date. Once again, the filing party can be reached at….

    He then leaves the number he called from, which only connects me to his voicemail.

    It all seems pretty fishy to me.

  19. Can a debt collector call me and leave me a message in detail about a friend of mine collection.
    Stating this is x-company calling with a last attempt to reach you. If we don’t hear from you today we will advise our client to move forward with the legal action against you.
    I haven’t even seen my friend in years. Why are they letting me know about his issue?

  20. I have been getting phone calls for my student loans from a collection agency. I call leave my information. They usually call me why I am at work and never leave me a voicemail and they call me more than twice a day, and never leave me a message. Can they do that?

  21. My question is , today at 405PM I received a unavailable call that went to voicemail. He said his name was Rob Wilson a processor in my county. He was going to serve me documents at home or work Monday 2/15/16 between the hours of 3PM and 5Pm. Gave me a case # but did not tell me the debt company it is owed to. At the end of the call he says my name you have been served. Is that legal?

  22. Can a collector call and leave part of your social security number on your voicemail without speaking directly with you to confirm he has the correct number?

  23. Can a third party leave a voicemail on my parent cell phone without given permission looking for me threatening legal matters?

  24. I got a voicemail an Ashley stating she’s a paralegal and I had to call back by the next day or they will file a law suit or cease my property. I called back and no one answered. Then 2 days later she calls demanding me to pay money the I owe on a credit card that I had opened 4 years ago. I asked for a debt validation letter and she refused. She then transferred me to another paralegal and the guy was very rude and demanded the money I again asked for validation. Letter and he said that the next letter I will received was a summons to appear to court and hung up. I tried calling a few times after to get an address and they refused that last time I called Ashley said that she had already submitted a summons and she will also accuse me of harassment for calling.

  25. A family member received a text message from a loan company and it stated don’t make us come to your house. Is that threatening? Can I report this and where?

  26. Can a collector call my work place phone and leave a automated message in the shared/public voicemail that they are trying to collect a debt from me? A co-worker had to transfer me the voicemail from the shared/public voicemail box.

  27. A bill collector left me a voice mail saying his company name and also stating he was a debt collector.I called the company back and spoke to the manager and explained that her collector had violated the FDCPA by leaving a message disclosing the nature of the call. She told me they had all rights to do so and the laws have changed. I explained to her that the message was passed on to me by my co worker. What steps do I need to take if any?

  28. Myself, my husband, and my mother in law are all receiving calls from an out of state number stating that they have an urgent message for myself or my husband. They leave an individuals first name and a number to call back, because they have a “very urgent message”. There is no company information included in the message. Is it legal for a company to call repeatedly and not provide any company name or information? I’m really frustrated because I don’t know why they’re calling and I’m hesitant, with the ever persistent scams and fraud, to call an out of state number I don’t know.

    Thank you!

  29. This guy and a couple of other left the message on my phone twice today. ” we are calling in regards to paperwork that was listed as non deliverable we had sent out and documents regarding legal information we had here against your name and social secuirty number. We are contacting to verify delivery address for obtaining a final statement from you or your attorney.. My name is Christopher Aldridge. I need to speak with you today. Contact my office at 302-544-9206.” This number has left different peoples names with different numbers to call back. The second number was 888-732-5818. I have blocked theses numbers but they continue to call. I have kept a couple of the messages on my phone in case this is legit. The company name is something like “ARG” or “NARG”. I am sure this is a total scam but could anyone help with this matter?

  30. We contacted out bank this morning in regards to the overdue payments and repossession. She stated she called multiple times but there was never a voicemail left on our phones. Obviously we do not answer for 800 numbers so we expect a voicemail to be left. This is one of those instances where we were supposed to have a automatic payment come out…. obviously it never did. She said the address she had on file was wrong. She also stated that she sent an email. We did not receive any type of notification. She also stated “this is your responsibility and we will give you a chance this one time” when asking why we never got put on auto bill pay.
    Now as far as them not contacting us, and us waking up thinking our car was stolen, isn’t this some type of violation. How can they not leave any messages on phone numbers/emails that have never changed since opening the account?

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