Ask the Experts: Is it legal for creditors to call me at work?

Is it legal for creditors to call me at work? - Jaclyne 

Dear Jaclyne, 

First, it’s important to differentiate between the term “creditor” and “debt collector.” While the two may seem synonymous, they are actually very different in the eyes of the law. 

Creditors, or “original creditors,” are the original party to which you owe money, such as a credit card company, auto dealership, etc. Debt collectors, on the other hand, are collection agencies or firms that exist for the primary purpose of collecting bad debts that have been turned over to them by the original creditors. 

Debt collectors are required to follow a set of guidelines set forth by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). 

The FDCPA prohibits debt collectors from using abusive, unfair or deceptive practices to collect from you. 

According to the FDCPA, while it is legal for a collector to call you at work, if you request that they stop (either verbally or in writing), they must comply. It is also illegal for a collector to contact you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m., unless you have agreed to it. 

On the other hand, if the calls are from the original creditor of the debt, these guidelines may not apply. While some states have similar consumer protection laws in place to regulate original creditors, I would recommend reviewing your state’s consumer laws to be sure. 

To learn more about prohibited collection practices under the FDCPA, visit debt collection guide for consumers.

Sincerely, 

The Advice Team

Do you have a question for the experts at MMI? Submit it here and the answer could be featured in an upcoming Blogging for Change post!

Jessica Horton is a former copywriter and community manager at MMI.

  • Better Business Bureau A+ rating Better Business Bureau
    MMI is proud to have achieved an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), a nonprofit organization focused on promoting and improving marketplace trust. The BBB investigates charges of fraud against both consumers and businesses, sets standards for truthfulness in advertising, and evaluates the trustworthiness of businesses and charities, providing a score from A+ (highest) to F (lowest).
  • Trustpilot Trustpilot
    MMI is rated as “Excellent” (4.8/5) by reviewers on Trustpilot, a global, online consumer review platform dedicated to openness and transparency. Since 2007, Trustpilot has received over 116 million customer reviews for nearly 500,000 different websites and businesses. See what others are saying about the work we do.
  • Consumer Federation of America Consumer Federation of America
    MMI is a member of the Consumer Federation of America (CFA), an association of nonprofit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education. Today, nearly 300 of these groups participate in the federation and govern it through their representatives on the organization's Board of Directors.
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development Department of Housing and Urban Development
    MMI is certified by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to provide consumer housing counseling. The mission of HUD is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD provides support services directly and through approved, local agencies like MMI.
  • Council on Accreditation Council On Accreditation
    MMI is proudly accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA), an international, independent, nonprofit, human service accrediting organization. COA’s thorough, peer-reviewed accreditation process is designed to ensure that organizations like MMI are providing the highest standard of service and support for clients and employees alike.
  • National Foundation for Credit Counseling National Foundation for Credit Counseling
    MMI is a longstanding member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®), the nation’s largest nonprofit financial counseling organization. Founded in 1951, the NFCC’s mission is to promote financially responsible behavior and help member organizations like MMI deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services.