How Many Times Can a Debt Collector Call You?

Under the law, it’s not the number of times a debt collector calls that matters; rather, it’s how often they call. Multiple calls without leaving a message isn’t considered harassment, but speaking with you in the morning and then calling again that day likely is.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) protect you from an unreasonable number of debt collection calls, but neither law specifies how many calls are too many calls.

Does the TCPA restrict certain types of debt collection calls?

Yes, it does. This law strictly limits pre-recorded messages, texts, and robocalls that:

  • Are made without your prior written consent to the business.
  • Are made between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.
  • Do not provide the name of the caller and identify the business.
  • Do not provide a contact phone number or address
  • Do not provide an automatic opt-out mechanism.

Therefore, the first call of this type that you receive is one too many and constitutes harassment.

Does the FDCPA restrict debt collection calls?

The FDCPA prohibits debt collector from engaging in conduct that has the natural consequence of harassing, oppressing, or abusing you. The Act recognizes that making your phone ring repeatedly or continuously in order to annoy, harass, or abuse you to be a violation of this prohibition. This conduct is also prohibited by the debt collection statutes of many states. But the law does not put a number on “repeatedly or continuously.”

No bright line exists between a permissible and impermissible number of calls. However, the FDCPA does provide you with a way to draw that line. However, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the governmental agency responsible for enforcing the FDCPA, defines the terms “continuously” and “repeatedly” in its regulations. In the FTC regulations, “repeatedly” is defined as “calling with excessive frequency under the circumstances,” and “continuously” means “a series of collection calls, one right after another.”

The application of these definitions and a determination of whether a debt collector has violated the prohibition against repeated or continuous calls requires a case-by-case analysis and depends on the totality of the circumstances. In determining whether a debt collector’s frequent calls rise to the level of “repeated,” “continuous,” “annoying,” or “harassing,” courts will look at all of the surrounding circumstances including both the volume and pattern of the calls.

Here are some factors that a judge may consider when deciding whether a debt collector “repeatedly and continuously” called to harass you:

  • Calls after receiving a cease and desist request
  • Calls after learning you have an attorney
  • Calls to your work phone
  • Hostile or threatening calls
  • Repeated back-to-back calls in a short period of time
  • Calls that violate other provisions of the TCPA or FDCPA

Also, read more about Massachusetts Two-call Per Week Law

What are my options if a collector harasses me?

If you are being harassed with repeated or continuous calls by debt collectors, you may have legal remedies available to you under the FDCPA or TCPA. Contact our experienced debt collection harassment team today to set up a consultation to determine your legal options. You can complete our online form or call us at 844-685-9200.

Have questions? Call us now at 844-685-9200 for a free case evaluation.

Our services are absolutely FREE to you.

The harassing company pays our fees.

6 COMMENTS
  • Eric L

    I do not wish to be contacted via phone for at least a few days. I am sick with pneumonia. However, I have been contacted by debt collectors. They called back to back 12 times today and yesterday. They automatically get blocked by my phone. Is this legal grounds to sue?

  • Penny Langston

    I have a single debt collector calling me between the legal hours but they call EVERY hour! Some calls are only 15 mins apart, most calls are approximately 45 mins apart! They let it ring for minimum of 25 times each call when I dont press the ignore button. When I do press the decline call option they end up calling back within 15 minutes.
    If this was an ex I would be able to have a PPO placed and charges for harassment.
    I have registered my phone number on the Do Not call registry. I am also constantly getting calls about credit cards that I dont have, vehicle warranty that I dont have, house insurance when I rent, alleged free gift cards and vacations that I randomly won, etc. Pleas, how do I rectify both of these situations?

  • Peggy

    Are debt collectors allowed to call you at work, I don’t know how they got my number?

  • Darlene

    My name is Darlene and the bill collector started calling at 8am and call all the way up to 9 are 9:30 pm .I was on time until my patient passed away I was only working part time and getting disability so know some of my funds have stop it’s hard single parent trying to get my daughter ready for college it’s to much.What Can I do to stop the calls

  • KEVA CHEEK

    Accept Now continues to call and harass me for payment. They call 15 to 20 times a day from 9am to 9 pm. I had 45 voicemails on my home phone alone. They called my cell phone so many times while I am at work that no one else can leave a message.

  • Carmen Cortez

    I received debt calls at work and many on my cell phone excessively throughout the day.

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