Debt Collection – Know Your Rights

checklistThanks to laws enacted in California and nationwide, there are rules that debt collectors and buyers must abide by. In addition, these laws establish rights for consumers that these companies cannot violate. Here are some of the rights you have as a consumer.

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You Have the Right:

  • To stop contact. Debt collectors are prohibited from contacting you if you request, in writing, for them not to do so.
  • To be free from harassment. The Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act requires that you be treated fairly without harassment. Visit to connect to resources related to this legislation.
  • To ask for proof of the debt, such as a copy of a bill.
  • To dispute any of the debt you are told you owe within 30 days of initial contact by a debt collector.
  • To be free from false or misleading representations. Debt collectors are also prohibited from falsely representing the amount or character of the debt.
  • To be free from debt collection activities for an identity theft-related debt.
  • To submit a complaint to government agencies.

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It Is Illegal for a Debt Collector To:

  • Call you before 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m. without your authorization.
  • Call over and over to annoy, abuse, or harass you or any person answering the phone.
  • Post public messages on your social media accounts about your debt.
  • Use obscene or profane language.
  • Make threats of violence or harm.
  • Lie about the amount you owe.
  • Deceive you to collect money, for example by falsely claiming to be law enforcement officers or saying you’ll be arrested if you don’t pay your debt.
  • Publish lists of people who refuse to pay their debts.
  • Talk to you without telling you they are a debt collector, or using a fake company name.
  • Bring a lawsuit or collect a debt unless they can verify the ownership and amount of the debt. The law also ends lawsuits on uncollected debts that are barred by an applicable statute of limitations.

What You Can Do

If a debt collector violates any of your rights, you may file a complaint with the DFPI, the California Attorney General’s Office (CA AG), the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and/or the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

Additional Resources

California Laws Related to Debt Collection

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Last updated: Mar 6, 2024 @ 12:01 pm