are debt collectors allowed to call you at work

Are Debt Collectors Allowed to Call You at Work?

Dealing with debt collectors is often stressful and annoying, especially when they start calling you at your workplace.

Mississippi consumers should understand their rights and the government’s restrictions on debt collectors to protect themselves from harassment.

Let’s explore the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), Mississippi’s debt collection laws, and what you can do when a debt collector harasses you at work.

What is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)?

The FDCPA is a federal law regulating third-party debt collectors’ actions. Its primary purpose is to protect consumers from abusive, deceptive, and unfair debt collection practices. The act sets clear guidelines on how and when debt collectors can contact you, including restrictions on calling you at work.

Key provisions of the FDCPA include:

  • Prohibiting debt collectors from engaging in harassing, oppressive, or abusive conduct.
  • Restricting the hours during which debt collectors can contact you (generally between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.).
  • Requiring debt collectors to cease communication upon written request from the consumer.

It’s important to note that the FDCPA applies only to third-party debt collectors, not the original creditor.

When Can Debt Collectors Call You at Work?

Under the FDCPA, debt collectors are allowed to contact you at work unless they know or have reason to know that your employer prohibits such communication.

If you inform the debt collector that you cannot receive personal calls at work, they must stop calling you there.

However, there are circumstances under which debt collectors may still contact you at your workplace:

  • If you have permitted them to do so.
  • If they cannot reach you at your home or cell phone.
  • If they believe your work number is your primary contact number.

If a debt collector continues to call you at work after you have asked them to stop, they are violating the FDCPA.

Steps to Take When a Debt Collector Calls You at Work

If you receive a collection call at your workplace, you should remain calm and take the following steps:

  1. Inform the debt collector that you cannot receive personal calls at work and request they stop calling you there.
  2. Document the interaction, including the date, time, the debt collector’s name, and a conversation summary.
  3. Follow up with a written request to the debt collector, stating that you want them to stop contacting you at work. Send this letter via certified mail with a return receipt to establish a paper trail.
  4. Notify your employer about the unwanted debt collector calls and provide them with a copy of your written request to the debt collector.

Your employer may have policies in place regarding personal calls at work. Collaborate with your human resources department or a consumer protection attorney to address the issue and ensure that the debt collector respects your workplace’s guidelines.

Dealing with Persistent Debt Collectors

If a debt collector continues to call you at work despite your requests to stop, you have several options:

  • File a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which enforces the FDCPA and investigates consumer complaints.
  • Consult with a qualified debt collection defense attorney who can help you understand your rights, communicate with the debt collector on your behalf, and take legal action if necessary.
  • Consider having your legal counsel send a cease-and-desist letter to the debt collector, formally requesting that they stop all communication with you. Once collectors receive this letter, they can only contact you to inform you of specific actions, such as filing a lawsuit.

Remember, you have the right to request written verification of the debt from the collector. They must provide this verification within five days of their initial contact with you. Review the information carefully and challenge any inaccuracies you find.

Alternatives to Dealing With Debt Collector Calls at Work

To minimize the impact of debt collector calls at your workplace, consider the following:

  • Communicating with debt collectors outside work hours, either by phone or in writing.
  • Exploring debt relief options, such as negotiating a payment plan, settling the debt for less than the total amount due, or consolidating your debts.
  • Seeking assistance from a non-profit credit counseling agency or a debt settlement attorney who can help you develop a plan to manage your debts effectively.

Assert Your Rights and Take Action

Working through debt collection stress can be challenging, but remember you have rights as a US consumer. By understanding the FDCPA, state laws, and the steps you can take when a debt collector calls you at work, you can protect yourself from harassment and assert your rights confidently.

If you’re dealing with persistent debt collectors or need guidance on handling your debts, don’t hesitate to reach out to Ware Law Firm in Mississippi.

Our debt collection defense attorneys offer consultations and case evaluations to help you understand your options and develop a plan of action.

Contact us today and take the first step toward resolving your debt collection issues.

Author Bio

Consumer Law and Bankruptcy Attorney Serving Magee, Mississippi

Daniel Ware is CEO and Managing Partner of Ware Law Firm, a consumer protection law firm in Magee, MS. With more than 25 years of experience practicing law, he has zealously represented clients in a wide range of legal matters, including identity theft, lemon law, debt collection, and other consumer protection matters.

Daniel received her Juris Doctor from the University of Mississippi School of Law and is a member of the Mississippi Trial Lawyers Association. He has received numerous accolades for her work, including being named among The National Top 100 Trial Lawyers.

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