Depending on who holds the right to collect on a debt, a debtor's rights may vary. Creditors, those with whom a debt originates, are allowed more leeway in collection efforts than third party debt collectors, who are generally not involved with the underlying or original transactions.
Anyone attempting to collect is prohibited from using any unfair, misleading, or unconscionable tactics in an effort to collect a debt. They are prohibited by law from harassing or abusing you or any other person they contact for purposes of collecting the debt. They are not allowed to threaten you with harm or swear at you. They also cannot repeatedly contact you for the purposes of annoying you. They must disclose their identity each time they contact you and they may not generally publicize the fact that you have failed to pay a debt. Debt collectors are also prohibited from using any false, deceptive or misleading statements when trying to collect a debt. For instance, they are not allowed to imply that you will be arrested if you fail to pay the debt, nor can they legally threaten to report false information to a credit bureau.
Third party debt collectors specifically are allowed to contact you by mail or electronic means between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. Generally, debt collectors can contact you at work unless your employer prohibits this kind of communication and the debt collector has reason to know of this policy. Debt collectors cannot disclose to others that you owe a debt. While they are allowed to contact other people, including members of your family, to find out your home address, telephone number or work location, they cannot legally inform them that you owe a debt or even that they work for a debt collection agency. If you have hired a lawyer, debt collectors can only contact your lawyer. They are then generally prohibited from contacting you or anyone else regarding collection of the debt. Schedule an appointment to discuss the matter with an attorney if you think a debt collector has violated your rights.