Fair Debt Collection Practices
Overall, there are laws that protect consumers from their creditors and debt collection efforts. These are called the “Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.” Below are sections of this act covering some of the common complaints with collection practices and your rights under the law.
While there are definite laws outlining when and how a creditor can contact you to collect on a debt, the bottom line is that until you resolve the debt(s) you continue to be troubled by it.
We advocate getting debt resolution to:
- Find financial peace of mind;
- Avoid advanced creditor actions such as judgments or wage garnishments;
- Protect and improve your credit.
We help clients find debt relief through filing a Chapter 13 reorganization plan or a Chapter 7 fresh start. Both programs will deal with your debt and provide the opportunity for credit restoration and protection from your creditors.
Please call us today at 866-261-8282 to understand your debt relief options. We offer free consultations at any of our office locations in: Detroit, Southfield, Warren, Dearborn, Ann Arbor, Flint, Michigan. Enduring creditor harassment is not worth it, trust our experience to bring you lasting debt resolution.
Most Common Debt Collection Complaints – The Law and Resolution Options:
Below are summations of the complaints we hear the most about in conjunction with debt collections. The actual text of the law can be found at the bottom of the page.
- Collections calls – when can a creditor or collector call?
- The Law: States that it should be a time that is assumed to be convenient to communicate with the consumer (assumed after 8 a.m. and before 9:00 p.m.) You can inform a creditor in writing that they are no longer permitted to contact you at work
- Resolution Option: You may be able to put the creditor off from calling you at certain times or places, but the calls will still continue in some fashion. Put a permanent end to these calls and collections by filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 protection. All calls will stop and we will address the root issue – the debt – and start you on the path to financial freedom.
- Communicating with third parties (i.e. friends and relatives)
- The Law: Creditors cannot converse with third parties regarding the collection of a debt without the prior consent of the consumer given directly to the debt collectors or by permission of the court (i.e. administering wage garnishments)
- Resolution Option: Avoiding your creditors is stressful and has a negative impact on your credit, as they continue to report you delinquent. Take control of the situation and negotiate voluntarily payment arrangements, try to reach an agreement on a lump sum settlement or file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 to find legal and lasting debt relief for all of your debt obligations.
- Ceasing Communication
- The Law: You can notify the collector in writing that you wish to cease all further communication in regards to collection of the debt. However, this means that the creditor’s remedy is now limited to collecting on the debt through legal and court proceedings. This may push the creditor to a more aggressive collection stance like a judgment and eventual bank or wage garnishment.
- Resolution Option: Don’t wait to for your creditor to take legal action against you. If they get a judgment and eventual wage garnishment they can legally take up to 25% of your net pay. This could have devastating effects on budget. By filing a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 will resolve the debt and put an immediate stop to all creditor actions. If you have already experienced a wage garnishment, we can evaluate if we can get your money back.
- Harassment or Abuse
- The Law: Collectors are prohibited from engaging in conduct that is intended to harass or abuse the debtors, such as:
- Use of threat, violence or other criminal means
- Use of obscene or profane language
- Publication of list of consumers who allegedly refuse to pay debts
- Repetitive calls with the intent to annoy, abuse or harass the debtor
- Resolution Option: Some creditors will stop at nothing to try to collect on a debt. While there are protections in place for creditors conduct, they still have the right to pursue collections by mean of a judgment. If the judgment goes unsettled, they will pursue a garnishment of your wages or bank account. This reflects poorly on your credit and can quickly create a budget crisis. Don’t delay in getting resolution. We can help you to eliminate the debt, as well as other unsecured debt by filing a Chapter 7. Or we can provide you with legal protection from calls and a debt consolidation plan through use of a Chapter 13 reorganization plan.
- False or Misleading Representations
- The Law: Collectors should disclose who they are and the purpose of their call. The creditor cannot use any false representation or deceptive means to collect or attempt to collect any debt or to obtain information concerning a consumer.
- Resolution Option: Do you screen your calls because you are worried that it might be your creditor? Until you resolve the debt, it will continue to be a nuisance. Talk to us about your legal rights to eliminate the debt by filing for Chapter 7 or debt consolidation options with a Chapter 13 plan. Filing either plan will stop the calls and stop the stress of unbalanced finances.
Get Debt Resolution:
Perhaps you see the common theme: get debt resolution! If you just have a small amount of debt and the available money, see if you can reach a settlement with your creditor(s). If you are getting a number of creditor calls or have unmanageable debt relative to your current income, we can help. We can assist you find full debt elimination and a fresh start by filing a Chapter 7. Or if the circumstances warrant, we can help you consolidate and likely reduce your debts by filing a Chapter 13.
Reach out to one of our licensed attorneys for a free consultation on how to stop creditor calls and find lasting debt relief. Call us at 866-261-8282 for a phone consultation or visit us at one of our six convenient locations in: Detroit, Southfield, Dearborn, Flint, Ann Arbor and Warren, Michigan.
Actual Excerpts for the “Consumer Debt Collection Practices Act”
For the full text for the “Fair Debt Collection Practices Act,” visit FTC.gov.
Consumers who want to register a complaint about the collection practices of a creditor or collection agency can send a written complaint to:
P.O. Box 30212
Lansing, MI 48909
Communication in connection with debt collection:
(a) COMMUNICATION WITH THE CONSUMER GENERALLY.
Without the prior consent of the consumer given
directly to the debt collector or the express permission of
a court of competent jurisdiction, a debt collector may note
communicate with a consumer in connection with the collection
of any debt;
(1) at any unusual time or place or a time or place known
or which should be known to be inconvenient to the
consumer. In the absence of knowledge of circumstances
to the contrary, a debt collector shall assume that the
convenient time for communicating with a consumer
is after 8 o’clock antemeridian and before 9 o’clock
postmeridian, local time at the consumer’s location; (2) if the debt collector knows the consumer is represented
by an attorney with respect to such debt and has knowledge
of, or can readily ascertain, such attorney’s name
and address, unless the attorney fails to respond within
a reasonable period of time to a communication from
the debt collector or unless the attorney consents to
direct communication with the consumer; or
(3) at the consumer’s place of employment if the debt collector
knows or has reason to know that the consumer’s
employer prohibits the consumer from receiving such
(b) COMMUNICATION WITH THIRD PARTIES. Except as
provided in section 804, without the prior consent of the
consumer given directly to the debt collector, or the express
permission of a court of competent jurisdiction, or as
reasonably necessary to effectuate a post judgment judicial
remedy, a debt collector may not communicate, in connection
with the collection of any debt, with any person other
than a consumer, his attorney, a consumer reporting agency
if otherwise permitted by law, the creditor, the attorney of
the creditor, or the attorney of the debt collector.
(c) CEASING COMMUNICATION. If a consumer notifies a
debt collector in writing that the consumer refuses to pay a
debt or that the consumer wishes the debt collector to cease
further communication with the consumer, the debt collector
shall not communicate further with the consumer with
respect to such debt, except;
(1) to advise the consumer that the debt collector’s further
efforts are being terminated;
(2) to notify the consumer that the debt collector or creditor
may invoke specified remedies which are ordinarily
invoked by such debt collector or creditor; or (3) where applicable, to notify the consumer that the debt
collector or creditor intends to invoke a specified remedy.
If such notice from the consumer is made by mail, notification
shall be complete upon receipt.
(d) For the purpose of this section, the term “consumer” includes
the consumer’s spouse, parent (if the consumer is a
minor), guardian, executor, or administrator.
Harassment or abuse
Debt collector may not engage in any conduct the natural
consequence of which is to harass, oppress, or abuse any
person in connection with the collection of a debt. Without
limiting the general application of the foregoing, the following
conduct is a violation of this section:
(1) The use or threat of use of violence or other criminal
means to harm the physical person, reputation, or property
of any person.
(2) The use of obscene or profane language or language
the natural consequence of which is to abuse the hearer
(3) The publication of a list of consumers who allegedly
refuse to pay debts, except to a consumer reporting
agency or to persons meeting the requirements of section
603(f) or 604(3) of this Act.
(4) The advertisement for sale of any debt to coerce payment
of the debt.
(5) Causing a telephone to ring or engaging any person
in telephone conversation repeatedly or continuously
with intent to annoy, abuse, or harass any person at the
(6) Except as provided in section 804, the placement of
telephone calls without meaningful disclosure of the
.Section 604(3) has been renumbered as Section
False or misleading representations
A debt collector may not use any false, deceptive, or misleading
representation or means in connection with the collection
of any debt. Without limiting the general application
of the foregoing, the following conduct is a violation of this
(1) The false representation or implication that the debt
collector is vouched for, bonded by, or affiliated with
the United States or any State, including the use of any
badge, uniform, or facsimile thereof.
(2) The false representation of
(A) the character, amount, or legal status of any debt; or
(B) any services rendered or compensation which may
be lawfully received by any debt collector for the
collection of a debt.
(3) The false representation or implication that any individual
is an attorney or that any communication is from
(4) The representation or implication that nonpayment of
any debt will result in the arrest or imprisonment of
any person or the seizure, garnishment, attachment,
or sale of any property or wages of any person unless
such action is lawful and the debt collector or creditor
intends to take such action.
(5) The threat to take any action that cannot legally be
taken or that is not intended to be taken.
(6) The false representation or implication that a sale,
referral, or other transfer of any interest in a debt shall
cause the consumer to
(A) lose any claim or defense to payment of the debt;
(B) become subject to any practice prohibited by this
(7) The false representation or implication that the consumer
committed any crime or other conduct in order
to disgrace the consumer.
(8) Communicating or threatening to communicate to any
person credit information which is known or which
should be known to be false, including the failure to
communicate that a disputed debt is disputed.
(9) The use or distribution of any written communication
which simulates or is falsely represented to be a document
authorized, issued, or approved by any court,
official, or agency of the United States or any State, or
which creates a false impression as to its source, authorization,
(10) The use of any false representation or deceptive means
to collect or attempt to collect any debt or to obtain
information concerning a consumer.
(11) The failure to disclose in the initial written communication
with the consumer and, in addition, if the initial
communication with the consumer is oral, in that initial
oral communication, that the debt collector is attempting
to collect a debt and that any information obtained
will be used for that purpose, and the failure to disclose
in subsequent communications that the communication
is from a debt collector, except that this paragraph shall
not apply to a formal pleading made in connection with
a legal action.
(12) The false representation or implication that accounts
have been turned over to innocent purchasers for value.
(13) The false representation or implication that documents
are legal process.
(14) The use of any business, company, or organization
name other than the true name of the debt collector’s
business, company, or organization.
(15) The false representation or implication that documents
are not legal process forms or do not require action by
(16) The false representation or implication that a debt collector
operates or is employed by a consumer reporting
agency as defined by section 603(f) of this Act.
A debt collector may not use unfair or unconscionable
means to collect or attempt to collect any debt. Without limiting
the general application of the foregoing, the following
conduct is a violation of this section:
(1) The collection of any amount (including any interest,
fee, charge, or expense incidental to the principal obligation)
unless such amount is expressly authorized by
the agreement creating the debt or permitted by law.
(2) The acceptance by a debt collector from any person of
a check or other payment instrument postdated by more
than five days unless such person is notified in writing
of the debt collector’s intent to deposit such check or
instrument not more than 10 or less than three business
days prior to such deposit.
(3) The solicitation by a debt collector of any postdated
check or other postdated payment instrument for the
purpose of threatening or instituting criminal prosecution.
(4) Depositing or threatening to deposit any postdated
check or other postdated payment instrument prior to
the date on such check or instrument.
(5) Causing charges to be made to any person for communications
by concealment of the true propose of
the communication. Such charges include, but are not
limited to, collect telephone calls and telegram fees.
(6) Taking or threatening to take any nonjudicial action to
effect dispossession or disablement of property if
(A) there is no present right to possession of the property
claimed as collateral through an enforceable
(B) there is no present intention to take possession of
the property; or
(C) the property is exempt by law from such dispossession
(7) Communicating with a consumer regarding a debt by
(8) Using any language or symbol, other than the debt collector’s
address, on any envelope when communicating
with a consumer by use of the mails or by telegram,
except that a debt collector may use his business name
if such name does not indicate that he is in the debt collection business.
Furnishing certain deceptive forms
(a) It is unlawful to design, compile, and furnish any form
knowing that such form would be used to create the false
belief in a consumer that a person other than the creditor
of such consumer is participating in the collection of or in
an attempt to collect a debt such consumer allegedly owes
such creditor, when in fact, such person is not so participating.
(b) Any person whom violates this section shall be liable to the
same extent and in the same manner as a debt collector is
liable under section 813 for failure to comply with a provision
of this title.
We offer free in-office or phone consultations to review your personal circumstances, analyze your situation and advise you on the best course of action. We specialize in bankruptcy law, debt resolution, foreclosure prevention and credit repair. We have offices in Southfield, Dearborn, Flint, Ann Arbor and Warren, Michigan. Please call us toll free at 866-261-8282 or click here to schedule a consultation right now.