Debt Collection FAQs: A Guide for Consumers

Debt Collection FAQs: A Guide for Consumers

By the Federal Trade Commission

Federal Trade Commission Debt Collection FAQsIf you’re behind in paying your bills, or a creditor’s records mistakenly make it appear that you are, a debt collector may be contacting you.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, enforces the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which prohibits debt collectors from using abusive, unfair, or deceptive practices to collect from you. Under the FDCPA, a debt collector is someone who regularly collects debts owed to others. This includes collection agencies, lawyers who collect debts on a regular basis, and companies that buy delinquent debts and then try to collect them.

Here are some questions and answers about your rights under the Act.

What types of debts are covered?

Can a debt collector contact me any time or any place?

How can I stop a debt collector from contacting me?

Can a debt collector contact anyone else about my debt?

What does the debt collector have to tell me about the debt?

Can a debt collector keep contacting me if I don’t think I owe any money?

What practices are off limits for debt collectors?

Can I control which debts my payments apply to?

Can a debt collector garnish my bank account or my wages?

Can federal benefits be garnished?

Do I have any recourse if I think a debt collector has violated the law?

What should I do if a debt collector sues me?

Where do I report a debt collector for an alleged violation?

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