The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCP) deals with third party debt collectors or collection agencies, and how they deal with those they are trying to collect debts from. The FDCP only covers debt accrued for personal, family, or household purposes, and does not cover business debts. Debt collectors cannot harass you or use abusive language, such as swearing. They also can’t threaten to harm you or your property, and can’t falsely threaten you with actions they don’t intend to take.
Debt collectors can’t call you at unusual or convenient times. In general, debt collectors can’t call you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. and must stop communications with you once you’ve sent them a written cease and desist letter or informed them that you’re represented by an attorney. In most cases, collectors can’t inform your family, friends, or neighbors of your debt. Debt collectors can contact you at work, but not if your employer prohibits it.
Depending on which state you live in, debt collectors may be able to garnish your wages or take money out of your bank accounts or any benefits you may have. In California, this is allowed, but only after they’ve sued you and a court has entered a judgement against you for the amount you owe. In certain states, like Texas, wage garnishment is never allowed. If you are being threatened with wage garnishment, it’s important to contact a qualified consumer protection attorney.