This article was written by Lemberg Law staff, and reviewed by Sergei Lemberg, the managing attorney of Lemberg Law.
Yes, a debt collector can call on Sunday, unless you’ve told them that Sunday is inconvenient for you. If you tell them not to call on Sunday, and they do so anyway, then the call violates the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
Is getting collector calls on a Sunday inconvenient for you?
The Fair Debt Collection Practice Act (FDCPA) was enacted to protect consumers from debt collector harassment. One provision of the FDCPA, 15 U.S.C. 1692c(a), expressly states that debt collectors cannot communicate with consumers at a time or place that the debt collector knows, or should know, is inconvenient. So, although the FDCPA does not state that certain days are off limits, it is unacceptable for a collection agent to call at a time that is inconvenient for you. In Austin vs. Great Lakes Collection Bureau, the debt collection agency admitted that it continued to call Ms. Austin at work, even though she had told them that calling her at work was inconvenient and had asked them to stop. The court ruled that Great Lakes violated 15 U.S.C. 1692c(a)(1).
Setting boundaries during the first collection call
It’s Sunday morning and you’re cooking breakfast for the kids, planning to catch a movie or watch the game later. The phone rings and it’s a collector, letting you know that your hospital bill is still due and insisting that you make a payment today. Perhaps you’re willing to talk about the bill, explain your situation, and make payment arrangements – but not only the only day you have to spend with your kids.
To let the debt collector know that Sundays are off limits, simply tell them that Sundays are not a convenient for you to receive calls. Make a written note of the date and time you told this to the collector and add a brief description of the way the conversation went.
If the debt collector keeps calling you on Sunday
If the debt collector calls you on Sunday even after you’ve told them not to, you do have options:
- Send a cease and desist letter via certified mail.
- Sue the debt collection agency for FDCPA violations.
A written cease and desist letter to the debt collection agency sent by certified mail will stop all collection activity. While such a letter doesn’t erase the debt, the agency is prohibited from continuing to try and collect it. They are only allowed to contact you in two instances: to inform you that they are ceasing collection activities; and to tell you that they are taking you to court.
You can also skip the cease and desist letter and sue the debt collection agency for violating the FDCPA.
If a debt collection agency is found to have violated the FDCPA, the law permits the consumer to recover up to $1,000 in damages. The law actually encourages consumers to pursue their rights by making the violating debt collectors pay for attorney fees and court costs. In practice, this means that a consumer attorney won’t charge you to represent you because they know that the collection agency will likely be responsible for paying their fees
Lemberg Law has a team devoted to representing people who have been harassed, threatened, deceived, or abused by debt collectors. Call and set up a free consultation at 844-685-9200 or submit the online request form.
Austin vs. Great Lakes Collection Bureau, 834 F. Supp. 557 (D. Conn. 1993)
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