Having debt is stressful enough, but dealing with aggressive debt collectors can take that stress to another level. Know your rights when it comes to debt collection to get some peace of mind.

You can get some relief through the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). While the FDCPA does not apply to the principal debtor, this can affect third-party companies like collection agencies. The act can bring a degree of responsibility to companies calling about credit card debt, mortgages, medical bills and more.

Playing by the rules

Collectors can reach out to you over the phone, through the mail or by text message to collect a debt, but there are restrictions:

  • Calling at work: Creditors can call you at work, but if you tell them you’re not allowed to receive personal calls, they must refrain from contacting you there.
  • Calling at night: Sleep is hard enough to come by without being woken up by debt collectors. The hours between 9 p.m. and 8 a.m. are off-limits under the FDCPA.
  • Threatening: Debt collectors can’t attempt to intimidate you. Threats of violence, profane language and constant calling are against the rules.
  • False information: Forbidden tactics could include lying about the amount you owe, misrepresenting who they are or falsely saying you’re up for arrest.

Acting on the FDCPA

You may send a certified letter to the company asking them to stop. The letter can give the creditor two options: cease communication or file a lawsuit. If you hire an attorney and inform the collector, any connection will usually have to be through your representation.

Know your rights when it comes to creditor harassment. Give yourself some relief from constant aggravation by having a handle on where debt collectors may be crossing the line.