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Debt Collection Laws

Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

Debt collectors have restrictions on how they can pursue payments.

These regulations protect consumers by creating business operation guidelines, defining the rights of consumers involved with debt collectors.

Four of the major regulations debt collectors should be in compliance with are:


The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is the main federal law that governs debt collection practices. The FDCPA prohibits debt collection companies from using abusive, unfair or deceptive practices to collect debts from you.

The FDCPA contains a number of provisions that debt collection agencies must follow in the collection of debt including:

  • Validating the debt requirement

  • Prohibition against harassing or abusive practices

  • Prohibition against providing false or misleading information

  • Prohibition against using unfair or unconscionable means to collect a debt

  • Payments must be applied in accordance with the consumer's instructions in the event of multiple debts

  • Prohibition against furnishing deception forms

The FDCPA covers the collection of:

Mortgages, Credit cards, medical debts, and other debts mainly for personal, family, or household purposes. The FDCPA does not cover business debts. It also does not generally cover collection by the original creditor to whom you first became indebted.


The Fair Credit Reporting Act is the primary federal law that governs the collection and reporting of credit information about consumers. Its rules cover how a consumer's credit information is obtained, how long it is kept, and how it is shared with others—including consumers themselves.


The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) restricts phone solicitors and regulates the use of automated equipment. This law applies to debt collectors as well as telemarketers. A common issue with the TCPA and debt collection is the act of calling an individual's cell phone. Debt collectors are required to get written or oral consent to call a personal cell phone.


For debt collection companies dealing with medical bill collection. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) sets the standard for sensitive patient data protection.

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