Can a debt collector call me in the early morning?

In most cases, if a debt collector calls you before 8:00 in the morning, it is violating the FDCPA.

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Question

A debt collector has been calling me at 6:00 a.m. I'm usually asleep at that time. Is this legal?

Answer

Probably not. The federal Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) restricts the manner in which debt collectors can communicate with you.

No Calls Before 8:00 in the Morning

The FDCPA regulates the time of day that collection agencies can call you. Under the FDCPA, a debt collector must not contact you at any “unusual time” or at a time that it knows or should know is inconvenient for you, unless you agree otherwise. The FDCPA specifically prohibits collection calls before 8:00 in the morning or after 9:00 at night, absent special circumstances or your permission.

No Harassing Calls

Debt collectors are also prohibited from harassing you. If the debt collector is calling you multiple times a day or calling you with the intent of harassing or annoying you, then it may be violating the FDCPA.

Restrictions Apply to Debt Collectors Only, Not Creditors

The regulations in the FDCPA do not apply to creditors, unless a creditor is a debt buyer (a person or business who regularly buys debts from creditors and tries to collect on them).

However, if a creditor calls you early in the morning, the call may be considered an “unfair or deceptive act or practice” under the the Fair Trade Commission Act (FTCA). A creditor that fails to follow standards set by the FDCPA may violate the FTCA.

In addition, your state may have a fair debt collection law that applies to creditors. For more information on what a debt collector can and cannot do, and for a list of some state fair debt laws, see the Illegal Debt Collection Practices topic.

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