Debt & Collections


What are your rights against debt collectors?

Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.  Creates guidelines under which debt collectors may conduct business, defines rights of consumers involved with debt collectors and prescribes penalties and remedies for violations of the Act. 

Debt collectors CANNOT do the following:

  • Ask you to pay more than you owe [15 USC 1692e] § 807(2)(a) 

  • Call repeatedly or continuously. This is considered harassment. [15 USC 1692d] § 806(5)

  • Use obscene, profane, or abusive language. This is considered harassment. [15 USC 1692s] § 806(2)

  • Call before 8:00 am or after 9:00 pm. This is considered harassment. [15 USC 1692c] § 805(a)(1)

  • Call at times the collector knew or should know are inconvenient.  This is considered harassment. [15 USC 1692c] § 805(a)(1). 

  • Use or threaten to use violence if you don’t pay the debt. [15 USC 1692d] § 806(1)

  •  Illegally inform a third part about your alleged debt.

  • Threaten action they cannot or will not take.  For example, collectors can’t threaten to sue or file charges against you, garnish wages, take property, cause job loss, or ruin you credit when the collector cannot or does not intend to take the action. [15 USC 1692e] § 807(5).

  • Contact you at work knowing your employer doesn’t approve [15 USC 1692c] § 805(a)(3).

  • Ignore your written request to verify the debt and continue to collect. [15 USC 1692g] § 809(b)

  • Continue to collect on the debt before providing verification. [15 USC 1692g] 809(b).

  • Continue collection attempts after receiving a cease communication notice. [15 USC 1692c] § 805(c).

  • Fail to send a written debt validation notice. [15 USC 1692g] § 809(a). 

Filing a complaint


How to report identity theft?

Report identity theft and get a recovery plan at


  1. Explain what happened.

  2. Get a recovery plan.

  3. Put your plan into action. 


Go to:


Bankruptcy Facts


Chapter 7

Liquidation Bankruptcy

Chapter 13

Reorganization Bankruptcy

Who can file?

Individuals and Businesses

Individuals (including self-employed)

Who is eligible?

Income must be below a certain level, depending on where you live

No income requirement, but debt must be below a certain amount

What happens to unsecured debt? 

(medical Bills, Credit Cards, etc.)

Gets rid of all unsecured debt

(except student loans, government taxes, child support and alimony)

Most unsecured debt is paid back over time through a repayment plan

What happens to secured debt?

(Car loans, Mortgage, etc.)

Nonexempt assets are sold to pay off secured debt

Secured debt is paid back over time through a repayment plan, but the assets do not have to be sold

Can it stop a foreclosure? 

No, but it can delay it.


How long does it take?

4-6 Months

3-5 Years

How long does it stay on your credit report?

10 Years

7 Years

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