How many times may a debt collector call you? While there’s no set number, calling to the point of harassment is against the law. You can sue the debt collection agency in federal court and recover money.
Federal law protects you if a debt collector calls you many times a day
Congress passed two laws, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and the Federal Debt Collection Protection Act (FDCPA), to protect consumers like you from an unreasonable number of debt collector calls. But neither law specifies how many calls are too many calls. In addition, these laws prohibit certain types of calls. This article will explain your rights under each law regarding the frequency of calls from debt collectors. Consumer protection lawyers use both these laws to fight for your rights.
Does the TCPA Limit How Many Times a Debt Collector May Call You?
Yes, it does. This law strictly limits pre-recorded messages, texts, and robocalls. Also:
- Calls made without your prior written consent to the business
- Calls to a residential line listed on the “Do-Not-Call Registry”
- Calls by telemarketers and debt collectors between the hours of 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.
- Calls that do not provide the name of the caller, identify the business behind the call and provide a contact phone number or address
- Calls that do not provide an automatic opt-out mechanism
- Calls that violate the law, such as making misrepresentations or threats
Therefore, the first call of this type that you receive is one too many and constitutes harassment.
Does the FDCPA Limit How Many Times a Debt Collector May Call You?
The FDCPA states that a debt collector harasses you if he allows your “telephone to ring or engaging any person in telephone conversation repeatedly or continuously with intent to annoy, abuse, or harass any person at the called number.” But the law does not put a number on “repeatedly or continuously.”
No clear line exists between a permissible and impermissible number of calls. However, the FDCPA does provide you with a way to draw that line. You can send the debt collector a “cease and desist” letter directing that no further calls be made. Send this letter certified or request a return receipt to obtain proof that it was delivered. After receipt, the debt collector should not call you again. If he does call he is harassing you and violating the law. He can send you one letter advising you that he will not contact you again. You can find a sample cease and desist letter from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
So How Do I Know How Many Times a Debt Collector Can Call?
Providing she follows the laws, a debt collector may contact you one time to try to collect a debt that she believes you legally owe. In other words, she has the right to make initial contact with you. For example, she may say “I am calling you about your XYZ credit card debt.” If you do not owe the debt you might respond: “Check your records. I have never had an XYZ credit card.” Based on your information, that might be the last call. If she continued to call about a debt that was not yours, that is harassment.
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 your 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,
- Calls that violate other provisions of the TCPA or FDCPA
- Calls attempting to make initial contact with you
What Are Your Options If a Collector Harasses You?
If a debt collector has been hounding you, to speak with a representative directly and immediately call 844-685-9200 for a free, no-obligation case evaluation. Our attorneys have experience in fighting debt collectors and standing up for consumers. If a debt buyer has violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act or the Telephone Consumers Protection Act, you’re entitled to file suit in federal court and could be awarded up to $1,000 and other damages.