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
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.
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