Debt Collectors: What They Can and Can't DoSo you fell behind in paying some bills. Maybe you got in over your head with a credit card or you had a sick family member and could not keep up with the medical bills. Whatever the reason for your debt, you deserve to be treated with respect. In fact, debt collectors are required by law to refrain from threatening or harassing you in any way. I want you to understand your rights in California so that you know when a collector has crossed the line and when you can take legal action against them.

Here’s What Debt Collectors Must Do

Under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), third-party debt collectors are barred from taking certain actions against consumers. In California, the Rosenthal FDCPA extends those limits to creditors; so basically, anyone who calls you demanding payment in California must do the following:

  • Identify themselves every time they call.
  • Give the name and address of the original creditor.
  • Notify you of your right to dispute the debt if you do not believe it is yours.
  • Provide you with verification of the debt if you request it in writing within 30 days.

Here Is What Debt Collectors Are Not Allowed to Do

Ok, so the creditor or collector does all of those things— that is great. But debt collecors are prohibited from doing any of the following:

  • Calling before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
  • Continuing to contact you after you have requested in writing that they stop.
  • Calling you repeatedly or continuously.
  • Calling you at work.
  • Contacting you after you have filed for bankruptcy.
  • Threatening you with arrest or legal action.
  • Verbally abusing you or using profanity.
  • Misrepresenting themselves as attorneys or law enforcement.
  • Contacting you directly after you have hired an attorney.

Did you catch that last one? Yes, you can hire an experienced debt attorney to deal with a debt collector, and once you do, the attorney will take over all communication while you get back to your life.

Why Hire an Attorney When You Are in Debt

People put up with debt collection harassment all the time, mostly because they know they owe the money and they feel bad about it. If a debt collector or creditor is calling you, contact me! You can reach me online or call me directly at 855.982.2400. In a free case evaluation, I will let you know how you can stop the harassment and whether you can sue the collector for damages for violating your rights. There is no good reason to put this off. Call me today!


Michael F. Cardoza, Esq.
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U.S. Marine & Consumer Financial Protection Attorney helping victims of ID theft and Credit Reporting errors.
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