Federal laws don’t place a specific limit on the number of times a debt collector can call you. But the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) does provide certain restrictions on how debt collectors may communicate with you including:
- when a debt collector can call you
- whether a debt collector can call you repeatedly, and
- when a debt collector must stop calling you.
(Learn about how the FDCPA regulates debt collectors.)
FDCPA Regulates Debt Collectors
The FDCPA was enacted to protect debtors from unfair and abusive debt collection practices. The FDCPA doesn’t have a specific cap on the number of times a debt collector can call you. But it does provide several restrictions on how a debt collector may communicate with you.
In general, the FDCPA applies only to debt collectors (typically meaning a third party who collects debts owed to another person or entity). This means that it doesn’t regulate the original creditor who loaned you the money. (Learn about the difference between a debt collector and a creditor.) But in some circumstances, a creditor may also be subject to the FDCPA.
State laws may provide additional protection. Some states have laws similar to the FDCPA that may place additional limits on debt collectors or cover original creditors. For this reason, check your state’s debt collection regulations to learn whether you have additional rights that are not covered by the FDCPA.
When Can a Debt Collector Call You?
A debt collector can’t call you at an unusual or inconvenient time. If a debt collector calls you before 8 a.m. in the morning or after 9 p.m. at night, it’s presumed to be inconvenient. But if the debt collector knows that you have special circumstances (such as an irregular work schedule that requires you to work nights), a call made between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. may also be considered inconvenient.
Debt Collectors Can’t Call You Repeatedly to Harass You
In addition to the time restrictions listed above, a debt collector can’t call you repeatedly or continuously to harass, abuse, or annoy you. This means that while the FDCPA doesn’t place a specific limit on the number of calls debt collectors can make, it prohibits them from calling you multiple times just to harass you.
You Can Tell the Debt Collector to Stop Calling
If you don’t want to receive any more calls, you can notify the debt collector in writing to stop contacting you. If you notify a debt collector in writing to stop contacting you, the debt collector can’t communicate with you further except to:
- tell you that it will stop contacting you, or
- notify you that it may (or will) pursue other remedies under the law (such as filing a lawsuit to collect the debt).