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 FTC.gov. The FTC also offers a helpful debt collection guide for consumers.

Sincerely, 

The Advice Team

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

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