What are the federal and state laws that apply to my collection efforts ?

Debt collectors may not harass, oppress or abuse any parties they contact. For example, they may not:

  • Use threats of violence or harm.
  • Publish a list of consumers who refuse to pay their debts (except to a credit bureau).
  • Use obscene or profane language.
  • Repeatedly use the telephone to annoy someone.

Debt collectors may not use false or misleading statements when collecting a debt. For example, they may not:

  • Falsely imply that they are attorneys or government representatives.
  • Falsely imply that you have committed a crime.
  • Falsely represent that they operate or work for a credit bureau.
  • Misrepresent the amount of your debt.
  • Indicate that papers being sent to you are legal forms when they are not.
  • Indicate that papers being sent to you are not legal forms when they are.

Debt collectors may not state that:

  • You will be arrested if you do not pay your debt.
  • They will seize, garnish, attach or sell your property or wages, unless the collection agency or creditor intends to do so, and it is legal to do so.
  • They will take actions, such as a lawsuit, against you, when such action may not legally be taken or when they do not intend to take such action.

Debt collectors may not:

  • Give false credit information about you to anyone, including a credit bureau.
  • Send you anything that looks like an official document from a court or government agency when it is not.
  • Use a false name.

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