The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act does not prohibit debt collectors from using different telephone numbers to call a debtor in an attempt to collect a debt. However, the law does prohibit bill collectors from calling a debtor repeatedly or using a false business name.
When a debt collector contacts a consumer in an attempt to collect a debt, the person calling must identify himself as a bill collector, state the purpose of the call and provide the name of the company that employs him. The law prohibits a debt collector from falsely claiming to be an attorney, an agent of law enforcement or a representative of a credit bureau. Collectors also are prohibited from calling at inconvenient times, such as early in the morning or late at night. Consumers also have the right not to be called at work if such calls are prohibited by their employers.
Except in very limited circumstances, debt collectors cannot share information about a debt with a person's employer or any third party except an attorney, the original creditor or a credit reporting agency. Additionally, if a consumer writes to a debt collector and tells him to stop calling, the debt collector must honor that request.
The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act was enacted by Congress in 1996 to protect consumers from the deceptive and abusive collection practices that were commonplace at that time. The law only applies to debt collectors and not original creditors. Debt collectors may be sued and penalized financially if they violate the law.