State Fair Debt Collection Practices Acts

7/12/2021

$100 bills

 

Fair Debt Collection Practices Acts

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, total household debt rose by $85 billion to reach $14.64 trillion in the first quarter of 2021. Their report highlights this fact, but also highlights that credit card balances are lower than they had been at the end of 2019. This may have been aided by federal stimulus checks and constrained consumption opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite temporary relief, many debtors may not see financial stability for some time as economies open back up.

In addition to federal relief, many state courts have provided pandemic related relief to debtors – such as moratoriums on evictions and medical debt collection. Some of this relief may have assisted struggling families reduce credit card balances. However, families struggling to obtain financial stability still may face challenges from medical bills, back rent, additional credit card debt, the balance owed on repossessed cars, utility bills, and more. With some courts still limiting relief for creditors within the legal system, many may turn to debt collection methods outside the court to receive relief. At the federal level, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (the “FDCPA”) provides debtors some protections from false, deceptive, or misleading representations. In addition to federal protections, 19 states and Washington D.C. have state level protections for debtors focusing on debt collector behavior and communications.

Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act – 15 U.S.C. §§1692 et seq.

The FDCPA protects consumers from harassment and deceitful tactics, outlines unfair practices, and establishes an avenue for individuals to file complaints. Many of the protections provided by the FDCPA deal with communications between collection agencies and debtors.

State Fair Debt Collection Practices Acts

State level consumer protections vary greatly and cover a wide range of topics, but 32 states, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia have fair debt collection practices acts which expressly prohibit certain acts by debt collection or regulate communications between debt collectors and debtors and/or third parties.

The chart below summarizes many prohibited and/or unlawful acts in each state. Additionally, it highlights laws affecting communications between debt collectors and the debtor or third parties. Please review the state statutes listed for the full statutory language. You may text search the chart using the search box at the head of the chart. Example searches include: “unfair”, “harass”, “unusual time”, “location information”, “obscene”, “profane”, “threat”, “legal process”, “form”, “fraud”, “mislead”, “misrepresent”, “telephone”, and “mail”.

In addition to the protections covered within the chart, many states protect debtors by requiring debt verification, mini-Mirandas, initial disclosures, supplemental disclosures, and/or representation protections.

Please note that NCSL takes no position on state legislation, laws or legal actions mentioned in this material.

The information listed within the chart is a summary and not a comprehensive list of full statutory language. Many states list general rules but have extensive exceptions that are not included in the chart.

PLEASE NOTE: The statutory chart should be used for general informational purposes and not as a legal reference. NCSL is unable to provide guidance to citizens or businesses regarding state or federal debt collection statutes. For individual questions or legal advice, seek a licensed attorney within your state.

 

 

The box allows you to conduct a full text search or type the state name.

 

 

State Fair Debt Collection Statutes

State

Prohibited Practices

Communications with Debtor

Communications with Third Parties

Alabama Not specified in statute    

Alaska

Alaska Stat. §08.24.041 et seq.

 

  • Forms of demand or notice or other documents drawn to resemble court process may not be used by collection agencies in the collection of bills, accounts, or other indebtedness.

 

Arizona

Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §32-1001 et seq.

  • Unfair or misleading practices
  • Resorting to any oppressive, vindictive, or illegal means
  • Except for licensed attorneys, using any letterhead, or literature bearing any heading, slogan or statement representing or inferring that the licensee practices law, renders legal services or advice, or maintains a legal department.
  • Using any letterhead, advertisement, agreement, form, circular or other printed matter, or otherwise, to convey the impression that the individual, firm, partnership, association, or corporation is vouched for or is an instrumentality of the state, a political subdivision of the state, or the department.
  • Dealing in a way that is not open, fair, and honest
  • Prohibited communications include, except for attorneys, any notice, letter, message, or form which: (A) simulates any legal process; (B) is ambiguous as to or misrepresents the character, extent or amount of the debt; (C) represents or infers that the existing debt may be increased by the addition of attorneys’ fees, investigation fees, service fees, or any other fees or charges when in fact these fees or charges may not legally be added to the existing debt; (D) threatens to sell the debt to any person, firm, or group; or, (E) uses or sets forth the name of or purports to be from any attorney at law or legal form.

 

Arkansas

Arkansas Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

Ark. Stat. Ann. §17-24-501 et seq.

  • Conduct the natural consequence of which is to harass, oppress, or abuse a person
  • Using a false, deceptive, or misleading representation
  • Using unfair or unconscionable means to collect
  • Designing, compiling, and furnishing a form knowing that the form would be used to create the false belief in a consumer that a person other than the creditor of the consumer is participating in the collection of a debt the consumer allegedly owes, when in fact the person is not participating in collecting or attempting to collect the debt
  • Prohibited communications include: (A) at an unusual time or place known or which should be known to be inconvenient to the consumer (assumed convenient between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.); (B) at the consumer’s place of employment if the debt collector knows or has reason to know that the consumer’s employer prohibits the consumer from receiving the communication.
  • To acquire location information, a debt collector shall: (A) Identify themself, state that they are confirming location information, and only if expressly requested, identify their employer; (B) Not state that the consumer owes a debt; (C) Not communicate with the person more than one time; (D) Not communicate by postcard; (E) Not use a language or symbol on an envelope or in the contents of a communication that indicates that the debt collector is in the debt collection business or that the communication relates to the collection of a debt.

California

Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

Cal. Civil Code §1788 et seq.

  • Using threats
  • Using obscene or profane language
  • Placing a telephone call without disclosing the caller’s identity
  • Causing long distance telephone expenses
  • Causing a telephone to ring repeatedly or continuously to annoy
  • Communicating with such frequency as to be unreasonable, and to constitute harassment under the circumstances.
  • Sending written or digital communication to the person that does not display the California license number of the collector in at least 12-point type.
  • Using enumerated misrepresentations
  • Sending a communication which simulates legal or judicial process, or which gives the appearance of being authorized, issued, or approved by a governmental agency or attorney when it is not
  • Prohibited communications include: (A) obtaining an affirmation for a debt which has been discharged in bankruptcy, without clearly and conspicuously disclosing, in writing, at the time, the fact that the debtor is not legally obligated to make such affirmation; (B) sending written communication to a debtor in an attempt to collect a time-barred debt without providing one of two potential notices depending on the date for obsolescence as set forth in California law.
  • Prohibited communications include: (A) communicating with the debtor’s employer regarding the debtor’s consumer debt; (B) communicating information regarding a consumer debt to any member of the debtor’s family, except for location purposes; (C) communicating to any person any list of debtors which discloses the nature or existence of a consumer debt, commonly known as “deadbeat lists”; or (D) communicating with the debtor by means of a written communication that displays or conveys any information about the consumer debt or the debtor other than the name, address  and telephone number of the debtor and the debt collector and which is intended both to be seen by any other person and also to embarrass the debtor.

Colorado

Colorado Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

Colo. Rev. Stat. §5-16-101 et seq.

  • Engaging in any conduct the natural consequence of which is to harass, oppress, or abuse any person.
  • Using any false, deceptive, or misleading representation or means
  • Using unfair or unconscionable means
  • Designing, compiling, and furnishing any form knowing that the form would be used to create the false belief in a consumer that a person other than the creditor of the consumer is participating in the collection of a debt that the consumer allegedly owes the creditor, when in fact the person is not so participating.
  • Invoking a cognovit clause in any note
  • Prohibited communications include: (A) At any unusual time, place, or manner known or which should be known to be inconvenient to the consumer (assumed that the convenient time for communicating with a consumer is after 8 a.m. and before 9 p.m. local time at the consumer's location); (B) At the consumer's place of employment if the debt collector or collection agency knows or has reason to know that the consumer's employer prohibits the consumer from receiving such communication.
  • To acquire location information, a debt collector shall: (A) Identify himself or herself, state that he or she is confirming or correcting location information concerning the consumer, and, only if expressly requested, identify his or her employer; (B) Not state that the consumer owes any debt; (C) Not communicate with any person more than once unless requested to do so by the person or unless the debt collector or collection agency reasonably believes that the person's earlier response is erroneous or incomplete and that the person now has correct or complete location information; (D) Not communicate by postcard; (E) Not use any language or symbol on any envelope or in the contents of any communication effected by the mails or telegram that indicates that the debtor collector or collection agency is in the debt collection business or that the communication relates to the collection of a debt.

Connecticut

Conn. Gen. Stat. §36a-645 et seq.
Conn. Gen. Stat. §36a-800 et seq.

  • Using any abusive, harassing, fraudulent, deceptive, or misleading representation, device, or practice
  • Enumerated practices in §36a-805

 

 

Delaware Not specified in statute    

District of Columbia

D.C. Code Ann. §28-3814 et seq.

  • Attempting to collect any money by means of threat or coercion.
  • Unreasonably oppressing, harassing, or abusing any person in connection with debt
  • Unreasonably publicizing information relating to any alleged indebtedness or debtor.
  • Using any fraudulent, deceptive, or misleading representation or means to collect or attempt to collect claims or to obtain information concerning consumers.
  • Using unfair or unconscionable means
  • Prohibited communications include: (A) enumerated fraudulent, deceptive, or misleading representations to collect claims or to obtain information concerning consumers, and (B) contacting consumers by telephone before 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m..
  • Prohibited communications include: (1) the communication of any false information relating to a consumer's indebtedness to any employer; (2) the disclosure, publication, or communication of false information relating to a consumer's indebtedness to any relative or family member of the consumer; (3) the disclosure, publication, or communications of any information relating to a consumer's indebtedness by publishing any list of consumers; (4) the use of any form of communication to the consumer, which ordinarily may be seen by any other persons, that displays or conveys any information about the alleged claim other than the name, address, and phone number of the debt collector.

Florida

Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act

Fla. Stat. §559.55 et seq.

  • Simulating in any manner a law enforcement officer or a representative of any governmental agency
  • Using or threatening force or violence
  • Telling a debtor who disputes a consumer debt that she or he or any person employing her or him will disclose to another, orally or in writing, directly or indirectly, information affecting the debtor’s reputation for credit worthiness.
  • Using a communication that simulates in any manner legal or judicial process or that gives the appearance of being authorized, issued, or approved by a government, governmental agency, or attorney at law, when it is not.
  • Using profane, obscene, vulgar, or willfully abusive language
  • Claiming, attempting, or threatening to enforce a debt when such person knows that the debt is not legitimate, or assert the existence of some other legal right when such person knows that the right does not exist
  • Prohibited communications include: (A) with such frequency as can reasonably be expected to harass, or willfully engaging in other conduct which can reasonably be expected to abuse or harass; (B) under the guise of an attorney by using the stationary of an attorney or forms or instruments that only attorney are authorized to prepare; (C) in a manner that gives the false impression or appearance that such person is or is associated with an attorney; (D) refuse to provide adequate identification if requested to do so by a debtor; (E) an envelope or postcard with words calculated to embarrass the debtor; (F) between the hours of 9 p.m. and 8 a.m.; (G) cause a debtor to be charged for communications by concealing the true purpose of the communication.
  • Prohibited communications include: (A) threatening to communicate with a debtor’s employer before obtaining final judgment against the debtor; (B) disclose to a person other than the debtor or her or his family information affecting the debtor’s reputation, whether for credit worthiness, with knowledge or reason to know that the other person does not have a legitimate business need for the information or that the information is false
Georgia Not specified in statute    
Guam Not specified in statute    

Hawaii

Hawaii Rev. Stat. §443B-1 et seq.
Hawaii Rev. Stat §480D-1 et seq.

  • Threatening the use of violence
  • Falsely accusing or threatening any person of fraud or other criminal conduct
  • Threatening that nonpayment of a debt will result in arrest.
  • Using profane or obscene language that is intended to abuse the hearer or reader.
  • Disclosing, publishing, or communicating any false and material information relating to the indebtedness
  • Seeking to obtain any statement or acknowledgment that the debt was incurred for necessities of life when in fact the debt was not so incurred.
  • Using any fraudulent, deceptive, or misleading representation or means

 

  • Prohibited communications include: (A) Falsely accusing or threatening to falsely accuse, to another person, that a debt has not been paid; (B) causing expense to any person in the form of long-distance fees; (C) unreasonably publicizing information relating to any alleged indebtedness or debtor in any of the enumerated ways;

Idaho

Idaho Code §26-2222 et seq.

  • Dealing in a way that is not open, fair, and honest or with deception.
  • Selling, distributing, or making use of solicitations, collection letters, demand forms or other printed matter which are made like or resemble governmental forms or documents, or legal forms used in civil or criminal proceedings.
  • Using any trade name, address, insignia, picture, emblem, or any other means which creates any impression that such person relates to or is an agency of government.
  • Making a representation or statement of material fact, or omit to state a material fact, if the representation, statement, or omission is false or misleading or has the tendency or capacity to be misleading.

 

 

Illinois

Collection Agency Act

Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 225, §425/1 et seq.

Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 720, §5/17-5

  • Representing falsely they are an attorney, a policeman, a sheriff or deputy sheriff, a bailiff, a county clerk or employee of a county clerk’s office, or any other person who by statute is authorized to enforce the law or any order of a court
  • Threatening to ruin, destroy, or otherwise adversely affect an alleged debtor’s credit rating.
  • Accepting a payment which is known to not be owed.
  • Prohibited communications include: (1) At any unusual time, place, or manner that is known or should be known to be inconvenient to the debtor (assumed that the convenient time for communicating with a debtor is after 8 a.m. and before 9 p.m. local time); and (2) At the debtor's place of employment, if the collection agency knows or has reason to know that the debtor's employer prohibits the debtor from receiving such communication.
  • To acquire location information, a debt collector shall: (1) identify himself or herself, state that he or she is confirming or correcting location information concerning the consumer, and, only if expressly requested, identify his or her employer; (2) not state that the consumer owes any debt; (3) not communicate with any person more than once unless requested to do so by the person or unless the collection agency reasonably believes that the earlier response of the person is erroneous or incomplete and that the person now has correct or complete location information; (4) not communicate by postcard; and (5) not use any language or symbol on any envelope or in the contents of any communication effected by mail or telegram that indicates that the collection agency is in the debt collection business or that the communication relates to the collection of a debt.
Indiana Not specified in statute    

Iowa

Iowa Debt Collection Practices Act

Iowa Code §537.7101 et seq.

  • Using an illegal threat, coercion or attempt to coerce.
  • Oppressing, harassing, or abusing a person.
  • Using a fraudulent, deceptive, or misleading representation or means to collect a debt or obtain information concerning debtors

 

  • Prohibited communications include: (A) disclosing, publishing, or communicating information relating to a person’s indebtedness to another person; (B) publishing or posting a list of indebted persons, commonly known as “deadbeat lists”
Kansas Not specified in statute    
Kentucky Not specified in statute    

Louisiana

La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §9:3562

 

 

  • Prohibited communications include contacting any person other than an extender of credit or credit reporting agency who is not living, residing, or present in the household of the debtor regarding the debtor’s obligation to pay a debt.

Maine

Maine Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 32, §11001 et seq.

Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 9-A, §§5-116, 403

  • Engaging in any conduct, the natural consequence of which is to harass, oppress or abuse any person in connection with the collection of a debt.
  • A debt collector may not use any false, deceptive, or misleading representation or means in connection with the collection of any debt.
  • A debt collector may not use unfair or unconscionable means to collect or attempt to collect any debt.
  • Reporting to a consumer reporting agency any credit or debt information regarding overdue medical expenses owed by a parent for a minor child if the debt collector is notified orally or in writing of the existence of a court order or administrative order identifying another person as the party responsible for payment of medical expenses for that minor child.
  • Initiating a collection action when the debt collector knows or reasonably should know that the collection action is barred by the limitations period of six years following consumer’s last activity on the debt
  • Prohibited communications include: (A) At any unusual time or place or a time or place known or which should be known to be inconvenient to the consumer (assumed that the convenient time for communicating with a consumer is after 8 a.m. and before 9 p.m., local time); or (B) At the consumer's place of employment if the debt collector knows or has reason to know that the consumer's employer prohibits the consumer from receiving a communication.
  • To acquire location information, a debt collector shall: (A) Identify himself; state that he is confirming or correcting location information concerning the consumer; and, only if expressly requested, identify his employer; (B) Not state that the consumer owes any debt; (C) Not communicate with any such person more than once, unless requested to do so by that person or unless the debt collector reasonably believes that the earlier response of that person is erroneous or incomplete and that the person now has correct or complete location information; (D) Not communicate by postcard; and (E) Not use any language or symbol on any envelope or in the contents of any communication effected by the mails or telegram that indicates that the debt collector is in the debt collection business or that the communication relates to the collection of a debt.

Maryland

Md. Commercial Law Code Ann. §13-301(14)(iii)
Md. Commercial Law Code Ann. §14-201 et seq.

  • Using or threatening force or violence.
  • Threatening criminal prosecution
  • Disclosing or threatening to disclose information which affects the debtor's reputation for credit worthiness with knowledge that the information is false.
  • Communicating with the debtor or a person related to him with the frequency, at the unusual hours, or in any other manner as reasonably can be expected to abuse or harass the debtor.
  • Using obscene or grossly abusive language in communicating with the debtor or a person related to him.
  • Claiming, attempting, or threatening to enforce a right with knowledge that the right does not exist.
  • Using a communication which simulates legal or judicial process or gives the appearance of being authorized, issued, or approved by a government, governmental agency, or lawyer when it is not;

 

  • Prohibited communications include: (A) contacting a person’s employer prior to obtaining final judgment against the debtor; (B) disclosing or threatening to disclose to a person other than the debtor in formation which affects the debtor’s reputation, with knowledge that the other person does not have a legitimate business need for the information; (C)

Massachusetts

Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 93, §24 et seq.
Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 93, §49

  • Collecting or attempting to collect debt in an unfair, deceptive, or unreasonable manner.
  • Prohibited communications include: (A) in such a manner as to harass or embarrass the alleged debtor, including, but not limited to communication at an unreasonable hour, with unreasonable frequency, by threats of violence, by use of offensive language, or by threats of any action which the creditor in the usual course of business does not in fact take; or (B) the use of forms or instruments that simulate the form and appearance of judicial process.
  • It is considered an unlawful practice if the creditor communicates, threatens to communicate, or implies the fact of such debt or alleged debt to a person other than the person who might reasonably be expected to be liable therefor. For the purposes of this paragraph, the use of language on envelopes indicating that the communication relates to the collection of a debt shall be deemed a communication of such debt or alleged debt.

Michigan

Mich. Comp. Laws §339.901 et seq.
Mich. Comp. Laws §445.251 et seq.

  • Communicating with a debtor in a misleading or deceptive manner, such as using the stationery of an attorney or the stationery of a credit bureau unless it is disclosed that it is the collection department of the credit bureau.
  • Using forms or instruments which simulate the appearance of judicial process.
  • Using seals or printed forms of a government agency or instrumentality
  • Using forms that may otherwise induce the belief that they have judicial or official sanction.
  • Making an inaccurate, misleading, untrue, or deceptive statement or claim in a communication to collect a debt or concealing or not revealing the purpose of a communication when it is made in connection with collecting a debt.
  • Using or employing, in connection with collection of a claim, a person acting as a peace or law enforcement officer, or any other officer authorized to serve legal papers.
  • Using or threatening to use physical violence.
  • Using a harassing, oppressive, or abusive method
  • Using profane or obscene language
  • Listing the name of an attorney in a written or oral communication, collection letter, or publication to collect a debt on behalf of a person other than the licensee or an affiliate of the licensee. This subdivision does not apply if the attorney is an employee of the licensee and is engaged in collecting claims owned by the licensee or an affiliate of the licensee.
  • Furnishing legal advice, or otherwise engaging in the practice of law, or representing that the person is competent to do so, or to institute a legal action on behalf of another person. This subdivision does not apply to an attorney who is an employee of the licensee and is furnishing legal advice to or representing the interests of the licensee or an affiliate of the licensee. However, an attorney who is an employee of a licensee may not institute a legal action to collect a claim unless the claim is owned by the licensee or an affiliate of the licensee.
  • Sharing quarters or office space with a lender or with a practicing attorney who is not an employee of the licensee. This subdivision does not prohibit a licensee from occupying a separate space in the same building in which a practicing attorney has office space or sharing a common waiting area with a practicing attorney.
  • Identifying the collection agency other than by the name that appears on the license.
  • Operating under a name or in a manner that implies or states that the collection agency is a branch of, or associated with, or has been approved or licensed by, a department of federal, state, or local government, or that implies that the collection agency is a credit reporting agency that regularly provides credit reports about consumers unless it is a credit reporting agency
  • Misrepresenting in a communication with a debtor any information that falls within an enumerated list.
  • Communicating with a debtor without accurately disclosing the caller's identity or cause expenses to the debtor for a long-distance telephone call, telegram, or other charge
  • Communications shall be made from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. unless the debtor expressly agrees in writing to communications at another time.
  • Communicating with a consumer regarding a debt by postcard.
  • To acquire location information, a debt collector shall state: (a) The name of the individual seeking the location information; (b) Whether the purpose of the communication is for confirmation or correction of location information about the debtor. Location information shall consist only of a debtor's place of abode and place of employment and the telephone number at each place.
  • Prohibited communications include: (A) Communicating information relating to a debtor's indebtedness to an employer or an employer's agent; (B) Publishing, causing to be published, or threatening to publish lists of debtors; and (C) Using a shame card, shame automobile, or otherwise bring to public notice that the consumer is a debtor, except with respect to a legal proceeding which is instituted

Minnesota

Minn. Stat. §332.31 et seq.

  • Threatening wage garnishment or legal suit by a particular lawyer unless it has retained the lawyer.
  • Furnishing legal advice or otherwise engage in the practice of law or represent that it is competent to do so.
  • Operate under a name or in a manner which implies that the agency is a branch of or associated with any department of federal, state, county or local government or an agency thereof.
  • Commingle money collected for a customer with the agency's operating funds or use any part of a customer's money in the conduct of the agency's business.
  • Implying or suggesting that health care services will be withheld in an emergency.
  • Failing to provide the debtor with the full name of the collection agency as it appears on its license.
  • Falsifying any collection agency documents with the intent to deceive a debtor, creditor, or governmental agency.
  • Commencing legal action to collect a debt outside the limitations period
  • Prohibited communications include: (A) misleading or deceiving by using the stationery of a lawyer, forms or instruments which only lawyers are authorized to prepare, or instruments which simulate the form and appearance of judicial process; (B) Using a recorded message utilizing an automatic dialing announcing device unless the recorded message is immediately preceded by a live operator who discloses prior to the message the name of the collection agency and the fact the message intends to solicit payment and the operator obtains the consent of the debtor to hearing the message
  • Publish or cause to be published any list of debtors except for credit reporting purposes, use shame cards or shame automobiles, advertise, or threaten to advertise for sale any claim as a means of forcing payment thereof, or use similar devices or methods of intimidation.
  • When a debtor has a listed telephone number, enlist the aid of a neighbor or third party to request that the debtor contact the licensee or collector, except a person who resides with the debtor or a third party with whom the debtor has authorized the licensee or collector to place the request. This clause does not apply to a call back message left at the debtor's place of employment which is limited to the licensee's or collector's telephone number and name
Mississippi Not specified in statute    
Missouri Not specified in statute    
Montana Not specified in statute    
Nebraska Not specified in statute    

Nevada

Nev. Rev. Stat. §649.005 et seq.

2021 Chapter 549

  • Using any device, subterfuge, pretense or deceptive means or representations to collect any debt, nor use any collection letter, demand or notice which simulates a legal process or purports to be from any local, city, county, state or government authority or attorney.

 

  • Prohibited communications include: (A) harassing a debtor’s employer in collecting a claim or engaging in any conduct that constitutes harassment; (B) publishing or posting any list of debtors

New Hampshire

N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §358-C:1 et seq.

  • Collecting or attempting to collect a debt in an unfair, deceptive, or unreasonable manner.
  • Prohibited communications include: (a) Causing a telephone to ring or engaging any person in telephone conversation repeatedly or continuously or at unusual times or at times known to be inconvenient with the intent to abuse, oppress or harass any person at the called number; or (b) Use of profane, obscene or vulgar language that is intended to abuse the hearer or reader; or (c) At the debtor's place of employment if said place is other than the debtor's residence; or (d) Using any written communication which fails to clearly identify the name of the debt collector, the name of the person for whom the debt collector is attempting to collect the debt, and the debt collector's business address; (e) placing phone calls without disclosure of the name of the individual making the call and the name of the person for whom the debt collector is attempting to collect the debt, or by using a fictitious name while engaging in the collection of debts; or (f) causing any expense to the debtor in the form of long distance telephone calls, telegram fees or other charges incurred by a medium of communication, by concealment of the true purpose of the communication
  • Prohibited communications include communicating the fact of such debt to a person other than the person who might reasonably be expected to be liable therefor.
New Jersey Not specified in statute    
New Mexico Not specified in statute    

New York

N.Y. General Business Law. §600 et seq.

  • Simulating in any manner a law enforcement officer, or a representative of any governmental agency of the state of New York or any of its political subdivisions.
  • Disclosing information affecting the debtor's reputation for credit worthiness with knowledge or reason to know that the information is false.
  • Communicating with the debtor or any member of his family or household with such frequency or at such unusual hours or in such a manner as can reasonably be expected to abuse or harass the debtor.
  • Threatening any action which the principal creditor in the usual course of his business does not in fact take; or
  • Claiming a right with knowledge or reason to know that the right does not exist.
  • Using a communication which simulates in any manner legal or judicial process, or which gives the appearance of being authorized, issued or approved by a government, governmental agency, or attorney at law when it is not.

 

  • Prohibited communications include: (A) Communicating or threatening to communicate the nature of a consumer claim to the debtor's employer prior to obtaining final judgment against the debtor.

North Carolina

N.C. Gen. Stat. §58-70-1 et seq.
N.C. Gen. Stat. §75-50 et seq.

  • Collecting or attempting to collect any debt alleged to be due and owing from a consumer by means of any unfair threat, coercion, or attempt to coerce.
  • Using any conduct, the natural consequence of which is to oppress, harass, or abuse any person.
  • Collecting or attempting to collect any debt by any fraudulent, deceptive, or misleading representation.
  • Collecting or attempting to collect any debt by use of any unconscionable means.

 

  • Prohibited communications include: (A) unreasonably publicizing information regarding a consumer’s debt; (B)
N. Mariana Islands Statutes unavailable    
Ohio Not specified in statute    

Oklahoma

Okla. Stat. tit. 15, §755.1

  • Using an automatic dial announcing device except when: (A) The device disconnects from the called person's line not later than 20 seconds after the called person hangs up; (B)  For calls terminating in this state, the device is not used to make a call: (a) before 9 a.m. or after 9 p.m., or (b) at any hour that collection calls would be prohibited under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, ; and (C) One of the following occur: (a) the calls are made or messages given solely in response to calls initiated by the person to whom the automatic calls or recorded messages are directed or who has made a written request to be called, (b) the calls made concern goods or services that have been previously ordered or purchased, (c) the calls are made by creditors or their assignees, or (d) the calls are initiated by a live operator who gives the caller the option to disconnect prior to the playing of a prerecorded or synthesized voice message.

 

 

Oregon

Or. Rev. Stat. §646.639 et seq.

Or. Rev. Stat. §697.005 et seq.

  • Using or threatening to use force or violence to cause physical harm to a debtor or to the debtor's family or property.
  • Threatening arrest or criminal prosecution
  • Threatening to seize, attach or sell a debtor's property if doing so requires a court order and the debt collector does not disclose that seizing, attaching, or selling the debtor's property requires prior court proceedings.
  • Using profane, obscene, or abusive language in communicating with a debtor or the debtor's family
  • Communicating with a debtor or any member of the debtor's family repeatedly or continuously or at times known to be inconvenient to the debtor or any member of the debtor's family and with intent to harass or annoy the debtor or any member of the debtor's family.
  • Attempting or threatening to enforce a right or remedy while knowing or having reason to know that the right or remedy does not exist or threatens to take any action that the debt collector in the regular course of business does not take.
  • Using any form of communication that simulates legal or judicial process or that appears to be authorized, issued, or approved by a governmental agency, governmental official or an attorney at law if the corresponding governmental agency, governmental official or attorney at law has not in fact authorized or approved the communication.
  • Representing that an existing debt may be increased by the addition of attorney fees, investigation fees or any other fees or charges if the fees or charges may not legally be added to the existing debt.
  • Using the seal or letterhead of a public official or a public agency
  • Collecting or attempting to collect any debt that the debt collector knows, or after exercising reasonable diligence would know, arises from medical expenses that qualify for reimbursement under the Oregon Health Plan or under Medicaid
  • Filing a legal action to collect a debt if the debt collector knows, or after exercising reasonable diligence would know, that an applicable statute of limitations bars the collection
  • Prohibited communications include: (A) writing without clearly identifying the name of the debt collector, the name of the person, if any, for whom the debt collector is attempting to collect the debt and the debt collector's business address; (B) orally without disclosing to the debtor, within 30 seconds after beginning the communication, the name of the individual who is initiating the communication and the true purpose of the communication.
  • Prohibited communications include: (A) communications or threatening to communicate with a debtor's employer concerning the nature or existence of the debt

Pennsylvania

Pa. Cons. Stat. 18 §7311
Pa. Stat. 73 §2270.1 et seq.

  • Engaging in any conduct the natural consequence of which is to harass, oppress or abuse any person.
  • Using any false, deceptive or misleading representation or means
  • Using unfair or unconscionable means to collect or attempt to collect any debt
  • Prohibited communications include: (A) at any unusual time or place or a time or place known, or which should be known to be inconvenient to the consumer. In the absence of knowledge of circumstances to the contrary, a creditor shall assume that the convenient time for communicating with a consumer is after 8 a.m. and before 9 p.m. local time at the consumer's location; (B) at the consumer's place of employment if the creditor knows or has reason to know that the consumer's employer prohibits the consumer from receiving such communication.
  • Prohibited communications include: (A) with any person other than the consumer.
  • In order to obtain location information, a debt collector shall: (A) identify himself, state that he is confirming or correcting location information concerning the consumer, and, only if expressly requested, identify his employer; (B) not state that such consumer owes any debt; (C) not communicate with any such person more than once unless requested to do so by such person or unless the creditor reasonably believes that the earlier response of such person is erroneous or incomplete and that such person now has correct or complete location information; (D) not communicate by postcard; (E) not use any language or symbol on any envelope or in the contents of any communication effected by the mails or telegram that indicates that the communication relates to the collection of a debt.

Puerto Rico

P.R. Code Ann. tit. 10, §981 et seq.

  • Operating under the name or in such a manner as to imply that such agency is a branch of or is associated with any department of the federal, commonwealth or municipal government, or to use any seal, insignia, envelope or other format which simulates that of any government department or agency.
  • Using or threatening to use physical violence to collect an account.
  • Publishing or threatening to publish a list of debtors or diffuse information with respect to the debt, as well as the use of the telegraph for collection purposes.
  • Requiring from the debtor the signing of a promissory note for an amount in excess of the debt.
  • Prohibited communications include: (A) Intimidating the debtors by using documents which simulate in their form and appearance judicial documents; (B) Contacting a debtor in the process of collecting a debt, whether by telephone, in person, or through any other means of communication, to collect a debt during working hours at the place of work or employment of the debtor, if the collection agency knows or should know that the employer prohibits such communication. Excepted from this prohibition are those cases in which the express consent or a court order to such effect is involved.

 

Rhode Island

Rhode Island Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

R.I. Gen. Laws §19-14.9-1 et seq.

  • Designing, compiling, and furnishing any form knowing that such form would be used to create the false belief in a consumer that a person other than the creditor of such consumer is participating in the collection of or to collect a debt such consumer allegedly owes such creditor, when in fact such person is not so participating.
  • Engaging in any conduct the natural consequence of which is to harass, oppress, or abuse any person.
  • Using any false, deceptive, or misleading representation or means
  • Using unfair or unconscionable means
  • Prohibited communications include: (a) At any unusual time or place or a time or place known, or which should be known to be inconvenient to the consumer (assumed that the convenient time for communicating with a consumer is after 8 a.m. and before 9 p.m. local time); or (B) At the consumer's place of employment if the debt collector knows or has reason to know that the consumer's employer prohibits the consumer from receiving such communication.
  • Prohibited communications include: (A) with any person other than the consumer, his/her attorney, a consumer reporting agency if otherwise permitted by law, the creditor, the attorney of the creditor, or the attorney of the debt collector.
  • To acquire location information a debt collector shall: (a) Identify himself/herself, state that he/she is confirming or correcting location information concerning the consumer, and, only if expressly requested, identify his/her employer; (b) Not state that such consumer owes any debt; (c) Not communicate with any such person more than once unless requested to do so by such person or unless the debt collector reasonably believes that the earlier response of such person is erroneous or incomplete and that such person now has correct or complete location information; (d) Not communicate by post card; and (e) Not use any language or symbol on any envelope or in the contents of any communication effected by the mails or telegram that indicates that the debt collector is in the debt collection business or that the communication relates to the collection of a debt.
A. Samoa
Statutes unavailable
Statutes unavailable    
South Carolina Not specified in statute    

South Dakota

S.D. Codified Laws Ann. §54-4-77

  • Harassing, oppressing, or abusing a borrower.
  • Using any false statement when attempting to collect a debt.
  • Giving false credit information about the borrower to anyone, including a credit reporting company.
  • Depositing a post-dated check early.
  • Taking or threatening to take the borrower's property unless it can be done legally.
  • Causing misleading information to be transmitted to users of caller identification technologies or otherwise block or misrepresent the identity of the caller.

 

 

Tennessee

Tennessee Collection Service Act

Tenn. Code §62-20-101 et seq.

  • Using or selling of forms that simulate legal forms to deceive a debtor or the public.

 

 

Texas

Tex. Finance Code Ann. §392.001 et seq.

  • Using threats or coercion.
  • Using unfair or unconscionable means.
  • Using a fraudulent, deceptive, or misleading representation
  • Prohibited communications include: (1) using profane or obscene language or language intended to abuse unreasonably the hearer or reader; (2) placing telephone calls without disclosing the name of the individual making the call and with the intent to annoy, harass, or threaten a person at the called number; (3) causing a person to incur a long distance telephone toll, telegram fee, or other charge by a medium of communication without first disclosing the name of the person making the communication; or (4) causing a telephone to ring repeatedly or continuously, or making repeated or continuous telephone calls, with the intent to harass a person at the called number.

 

Utah Not specified in statute    
Vermont Not specified in statute    

Virginia

Va. Code §18.2-213

  • Knowingly delivering, mailing, sending or otherwise using any paper or writing simulating or intended to simulate any warrant, process, writ, notice of execution lien or notice of motion for judgment.

 

 

U.S. Virgin Islands

V.I. Code Ann. tit. 12A, §101 et seq.

  • Engaging in any deceptive or unconscionable trade practice in the sale, lease, rental or loan or in the offering for sale, lease, rental, or loan of any consumer goods or services, or in the collection of consumer debts.

 

 

Washington

Collection Agency Act

Wash. Rev. Code §19.16.100 et seq.

  • Acting, assuming to act, or advertising as a collection agency or out-of-state collection agency without first having applied for and obtained a license from the director.
  • Directly or indirectly aiding or abetting any unlicensed person to engage in business as a collection agency.
  • Having in his or her possession or making use of any badge, using a uniform of any law enforcement agency or any simulation thereof, or making any statements which might be construed as indicating an official connection with any federal, state, county, or city law enforcement agency, or any other governmental agency.
  • Using any name while engaged in the making of a demand for any claim other than the name set forth on his or her or its current license.
  • Threatening to take any action against the debtor which the licensee cannot legally take at the time the threat is made.
  • Bringing an action or initiate an arbitration proceeding on a claim when the licensee knows, or reasonably should know, that such suit or arbitration is barred by the applicable statute of limitations.
  • Serving a debtor with a summons and complaint unless the summons and complaint have been filed with the court and bear the case number assigned by the court
  • Prohibited communications include: (A) threatening the debtor with impairment of his or her credit rating if a claim is not; (B) use of forms or instruments that simulate the form or appearance of judicial process, the form or appearance of government documents, or the simulation of a form or appearance of a telegraphic or emergency message; (C) Representing or implying that the existing obligation of the debtor may be or has been increased by the addition of attorney fees, investigation fees, service fees, or any other fees or charges when in fact such fees or charges may not legally be added to the existing obligation of such debtor; (D) Sending any telegram or making any telephone calls to a debtor or concerning a debt or for the purpose of demanding payment of a claim or seeking information about a debtor, for which the charges are payable by the addressee or by the person to whom the call is made; (E) calling, or sending a text message or other electronic communication to, a cellular telephone or other wireless device more than twice in any day when the licensee knows or reasonably should know that the number belongs to a cellular telephone or other wireless device, unless the licensee is responding to a communication from the debtor or the person to whom the call, text message, or other electronic communication is made; (F) intentionally blocking its telephone number from displaying on a debtor's telephone.
  • Prohibited communications include: (A) publishing or posting or causing to be published or posted, any list of debtors commonly known as “bad debt lists” or threaten to do so. For purposes of this chapter, a “bad debt list” means any list of natural persons alleged to fail to honor their lawful debts; (B) communicating or threatening to communicate, the existence of a claim to a person other than one who might be reasonably expected to be liable on the claim in any manner other than through proper legal action, process, or proceedings; (C) communicating in such a manner as to harass, intimidate, threaten, or embarrass a debtor, including but not limited to communication at an unreasonable hour, with unreasonable frequency, by threats of force or violence, by threats of criminal prosecution, and by use of offensive language (presumed to have been made for the purposes of harassment if: (a) It is made with a debtor or spouse in any form, manner, or place, more than three times in a single week, unless the licensee is responding to a communication from the debtor or spouse; (b) It is made with a debtor at his or her place of employment more than one time in a single week, unless the licensee is responding to a communication from the debtor; (c) It is made with the debtor or spouse at his or her place of residence between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 7:30 a.m.).

West Virginia

W. Va. Code §46A-2-122 et seq.

  • Unreasonably oppressing or abusing any person
  • Unreasonably publicizing information relating to any alleged indebtedness or consumer.
  • Using any fraudulent, deceptive or misleading representation or means
  • Using unfair or unconscionable means
  • Placing a telephone call or otherwise communicate by telephone with a consumer or third party, at any place, including a place of employment, falsely stating that the call is “urgent” or an “emergency”.

 

  • Prohibited communications include: (A) communication to any employer or his agent before judgment has been rendered of any information relating to an employee's indebtedness other than through proper legal action, process or proceeding; (B) disclosure, publication or communication of information relating to a consumer's indebtedness to any relative or family member of the consumer if such person is not residing with the consumer; (C) disclosure, publication or communication of any information relating to a consumer's indebtedness to any other person other than a credit reporting agency, by publishing or posting any list of consumers, commonly known as “deadbeat lists”; (D) any form of communication to the consumer, which ordinarily may be seen by any other persons, that displays or conveys any information about the alleged claim other than the name, address and phone number of the debt collector.

Wisconsin

Wis. Stat. §427.101 et seq.

  • Using or threatening force or violence to cause physical harm to the customer or the customer's dependents or property;
  • Threatening criminal prosecution;
  • Disclosing or threatening to disclose information adversely affecting the customer's reputation for credit worthiness with knowledge or reason to know that the information is false;
  • Disclosing or threatening to disclose information concerning the existence of a debt known to be reasonably disputed by the customer without disclosing the fact that the customer disputes the debt;
  • Communicating with the customer or a person related to the customer with such frequency or at such unusual hours or in such a manner as can reasonably be expected to threaten or harass the customer;
  • Engaging in other conduct which can reasonably be expected to threaten or harass the customer or a person related to the customer;
  • Using obscene or threatening language in communicating with the customer or a person related to the customer;
  • Claiming or threatening to enforce a right with knowledge or reason to know that the right does not exist;
  • Using a communication which simulates legal or judicial process or which gives the appearance of being authorized, issued or approved by a government, governmental agency or attorney-at-law when it is not;
  • Threatening action against the customer unless like action is taken in regular course or is intended with respect to the particular debt.
  • Engaging in conduct in violation of a rule adopted by the administrator after like conduct has been restrained or enjoined by a court in a civil action by the administrator against any person pursuant to the provisions on injunctions against false, misleading, deceptive or unconscionable agreements or conduct.

 

  • Prohibited communications include: (A) Initiating or threatening to initiate communication with the customer’s employer prior to obtaining final judgment against the customer; (B) disclosing or threatening to disclose to a person other than the customer information affecting the customer’s reputation
Wyoming Not specified in statute