When Can Debt Collectors Call?

Woman frustrated on the phone while holding baby
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When your phone rings at 8 in the morning, the last person you expect it to be is a debt collector. The same thing goes for late evening phone calls. You might be surprised to learn that collectors are operating within the law if they call at either of these times.

The Law on When Debt Collectors Can Call

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is the Federal law that sets guidelines for when debt collectors can call:

  • They can call between 8am and 9pm, your local time.
  • They can call you at work if they do not know your employer disapproves.
  • They can call you once more after receiving a cease and desist letter from you

Can Debt Collectors Call on Weekends or Holidays?

What about weekends and holidays? Fortunately, many businesses, including collection agencies, are closed on weekends and holidays. Although the FDCPA doesn't specifically state which days of the week collectors can and cannot call, it does state that collectors cannot communicate with you during times "which should be known to be inconvenient."

If a collector calls at a bad time, simply say, "This is not a convenient time" and let them know specifically what time is convenient. The debt collector is required to honor your request, even if you make it verbally. Make note of this conversation including the date and time. Make note also of any future calls the debt collectors makes to you at the time you've told them is inconvenient.

You may have grounds to sue the collector if it continues calling you at a time you've stated is inconvenient for you.

To stop debt collection calls completely, you can send a written cease and desist letter asking them to stop calling you. Paying off the debt or making a payment arrangement will also stop collectors from calling you.

Before you pay, make sure the debt is yours and that it's within the legally enforceable timeframe.

Use certified mail when you send any written communication to a debt collector so you have proof of the letter's mailing and confirmation that it was received.

How Many Times a Day Can a Debt Collector Call You?

The FDCPA doesn't specify how often a debt collector can call, e.g. weekly or daily or multiple times a day. It does, however, prohibit collectors from "causing the phone to ring repeatedly or continuously to annoy" you. So, debt collectors shouldn't be calling you back to back, especially immediately after you've spoken to them and ended the call or after you've asked not to call.

How to Handle Excessive Collection Calls

If you believe a debt collector is violating the law by calling you outside the allowed times or by calling more frequently than they should, especially after you've sent a cease and desist letter asking them to stop calling, you can report them to the CFPB and your state Attorney General. With enough consumer complaints either authority may fine the debt collector and require them to stop violating the law.