We continue our discussion on the FDCPA by focusing on what debt collectors can do under the statute. This is conduct that is permitted by the statute for debt collectors to collect on debts. The statute states that a debt collector is someone who regularly collects on behalf of other creditors, meaning that the FDCPA does not apply to the actual creditor who holds the underlying debt. That is important to remember, but be sure to look and see if the applicable state where you live has a statute that does cover original creditors.
Conduct that these covered debt collectors are permitted to engage in to collect on debt includes contacting you by mail, by telephone, or in person. The debt collector is allowed to contact you generally between the hours of 8:00 AM and 9 PM, but more specifically can contact any time that is not known to be inconvenient to you during that period. The collector cannot contact you at work if the collector has any reason to know that your employer forbids that sort of contact while at work. In this same vein, if you inform the collector that you don't want collection calls at work, they must listen to that request.
If you inform the collector that you are represented by an attorney, the collector must refer all future collection calls to that attorney and not to you. Also, if you dispute the debt in writing, the collector must stop contact with you and may only resume contact after the collector establishes proof of the existence of the debt. Finally, it is important to remember that the debt collector may contact anyone in an attempt to locate you. Even though the collector is allowed to do this, however, they cannot talk to that particular person more than once and they may not refer to the outstanding debt when they are in fact contacting a third party.