How to Handle Debt Collectors Blog

Handle Debt Collectors in 2022

When you make changes to your payment habits, communication from debt collectors can be frequent and disruptive. Creditors and collection agencies can also be aggressive and intimidating. It’s important to know your rights and how to handle creditors and debt collectors when they contact you. 

Reasons Creditors Will Contact You

Payment habits can change for different reasons. Common reasons a creditor or debt collector will reach out include:

  • A problem with your account (fraudulent activity or other errors)
  • Late payments
  • Debt payment one month or more behind
  • Debt has been transferred or sent to a collection agency 
  • Delayed payments when pursuing debt resolution with Beyond Finance

How Can Creditors Contact You About Debt

There are laws in place to protect consumers and govern how and when debt collectors can reach out to you about debt.

Creditors must abide by Federal Trade Commission rules outlined in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). These regulations prevent debt collectors from using abusive or unfair practices.

  • Call you up to 7x in 7 days (including calls that go to voicemail)
  • Send letters
  • Send emails
  • Send text messages up to 2 per week
  • Contact you via social media messaging
  • Approach you in person to collect a debt
  • Make your debts public or publicize them in any way
  • Contact you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m., unless you agree to it
  • Contact you at work if you tell them you’re not allowed to get calls there
  • Contact you via phone or another method if you request in writing that they contact you another way
  • Contact you if you send a cease and desist letter

These rules apply per debt claim, which means folks with three or four outstanding debts can be contacted 7x in 7 days for each debt. 

What To Do When Creditors Contact You

If you do not want to be contacted by phone you can:

  • Block creditor phone numbers (see how here)
  • Ask for the creditors mailing address, and specify in writing how they can contact you

Once the creditor receives your letter, they are not allowed to call you. 

According to the FTC, there are two exceptions to any no-contact request:

  • A collector can contact you to tell you there will be no further contact.
  • A collector can call to inform you that they are taking legal action against you.

If you do not want to be contacted by mail you can: 

  • Ask for the creditors mailing address, and specify in writing how they can contact you

If you do not want to be contacted by email you can:

  • Unsubscribe from email or text communications (when the option is given)
  • Ask for the creditors mailing address, and specify in writing how they can contact you

A debt collector can’t communicate or attempt to communicate with you by sending an email to an email address that the debt collector knows is a work email address.

Under the FDCPA, it’s illegal for a debt collector to come to your workplace to collect payment. 

Creditors may try to contact you at work. Although they are not allowed to reveal to your employer or coworkers why they are calling, the calls can nevertheless be invasive and disruptive. 

To stop calls at work you should decline to speak with the creditor and send a letter revoking permission for this method of contact.

To stop contact via social media:

  • Opt-out if the option is given
  • Ask for the creditors mailing address, and specify in writing how they can contact you

What Not To Do When Creditor Contacts You

  • Make a payment if you have not verified the debt is yours
  • Make a payment if you are already working with a debt resolution company like Beyond Finance

Debt Collectors Can Contact You on Social Media

In late 2021 the CFPB updated rules governing how creditors can contact consumers to collect debts. The new rule allows creditors to contact consumers about debt via emails, text messages, and social media platforms. 

CFPB rules prohibit debt collectors from contacting you about debt on social media platforms if the message is viewable by the general public or your social media contacts.

Debt collectors can send you private messages over social media until you’ve asked that the debt collector not use that method to communicate with you. Also, suppose a debt collector sends you a private message via social media, like through Facebook or LinkedIn, asking to be added as one of your contacts. In that case, the collector has to disclose their identity as a debt collector.

While creditors are allowed to contact you on social media they must do so privately. Collectors can’t post on your page if it can be seen by your contacts or the public and rules and restrictions apply: they can only contact between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m., they must give you the option to opt-out and they can’t contact you more than 7x in 7 days. 

Sample Letters from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

The following sample letters from the CFPB will help you address problems that may come up with debt collectors like:

  • I want to specify how the debt collector can contact me
  • I need more information about this debt
  • I want the debt collector to stop contacting me
  • I want the debt collector to only contact me through my lawyer
  • I do not owe this debt

How to Submit a Harassment Complaint

If you have made written requests and the collector is still harassing you, submit a complaint with the CFPB and Federal Trade Commission. You can also report them to your state’s attorney general.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Federal Trade Commission