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FAQ: Debt Collection


If you are being contacted by debt collectors, it is important to know what rights you have as a consumer. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), it is illegal for debt collectors to use abusive, unfair, or deceptive practices when attempting to collect debts. Below, we answer some of the questions we are commonly asked about debt collection.

Question: What kind of debts are covered under the FDCPA?

A:  The FDCPA covers the following types of debts:

  • Credit card debt
  • Auto loans
  • Medical bills
  • Student loans
  • Mortgage
  • Other household debts

Business debts are not covered under the FDCPA

Question: Is it true that debt collectors can contact me at any time or any place?

A: Debt collectors are not allowed to contact you at inconvenient times or places. For example, debt collectors can’t contact you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. Debt collectors also can’t contact you at work if you tell them you can’t receive calls while you are there.

Question: What methods can debt collectors use to get in touch with me?

A: Debt collectors can call you at home or on your cell phone. They can also send letters, emails, or text messages regarding a debt they are trying to collect.

Question: Can debt collectors contact others about my debts?

A: In general, a debt collector can only talk about your debt with your spouse and the attorney representing you. However, debt collectors can contact others to ask about your address, home phone number, and where you work.

Question: What do debt collectors have to tell me about the debt they are pursuing?

A: Debt collectors have to send you a written “validation notice.” This notice must be sent within five days of first contacting you. The notice must tell you:

  • The total amount of money you owe
  • The name of the creditor pursuing the debt
  • Steps to take if the debt doesn’t belong to you

Question: What specific things are debt collectors not allowed to do?

A: Under the FDCPA, debt collectors can’t do any of the following things:

  • Threaten to harm you
  • Use obscene or profane language when speaking to you
  • Make repeating calls to annoy you
  • Lie about the amount of money you owe
  • Misrepresent themselves as government representatives or attorneys
  • Lie about having you arrested or taking legal action against you

Question: What should I do if a debt collector says they want to sue me?

A:  If a debt collector says they are taking legal action against you, you need to immediately get in touch with an experienced lawyer to find out how to protect your rights and interests.

Call (312) 313-1613 if you need help disputing a debt collection case. Our lawyers in Chicago are here to fight for you. Schedule your free case evaluation today.