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Your Debt Collection Rights

Authored By
Education for Justice
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Federal and state laws protect you from abuse or harassment by debt collectors. All debt collectors and all of the people who work for them at a collection agency have to follow the laws. If a lawyer regularly collects debts, they must also follow these laws.

For legal advice about your debts, call a lawyer or your legal aid office. For help with your budget or making a payment plan, call a non-profit debt counseling service, like Consumer Credit Counseling at 1(800) 388-2227. They will connect you with a local office. They charge a small fee. They can also help you set up payment plans with your creditors and may get them to take lower payments as part of the plan

Watch Out for companies that charge money to “repair” your credit. Many of these are rip-offs!

When you are in debt you can become a target for people who want to take advantage of you or scam you. The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau has good information on how to tell if a debt collector is legitimate. Go to

  • Click on “Consumer Tools” then “Ask CFPB”
  • Under “Bank Accounts and Services” click on “See all bank accounts and services questions”
  • Click on “Debt Collection” on the left
  • Scroll down to and click on the question: “How can I verify whether or not a debt collector is legitimate?”

If you are ever not sure who you are talking to or if someone is asking you for financial information over the phone, you may want to check out that they are who they say they are.