Can a Debt Collector Call Me on My Cell Phone?
We often get the question, “can a debt collector call me on your cell phone?” In order to protect your rights, it’s important to understand how debt collectors can and cannot communicate with you. Just because you owe a balance doesn’t give debt collectors a free ticket to harass you or invade your privacy.
Have You Given Permission to Call Your Cell Phone?
Debt collectors can ONLY call you on your cell phone if you have given them permission to call your cell phone. Sometimes that permission is given when you first open an account. Even if the account has been transferred, generally the permission to call a phone number you have given in the past can move with the account. Likewise, Debt Collectors may call your cell phone if you gave them permission during the life of the call. At some point, did you give out your cell phone during a call with customer service for your online account? If so, that may also authorize a debt collector to call your cell phone.
What if I have Told a Debt Collector I Don’t Want Them to Call?
Well, how do debt collectors know if you don’t want them to call your cell phone? Simple – you need to TELL the debt collector that you don’t want calls to your cell phone:
- Answer a call from the debt collector,
- Ask them who they are,
- Let them know if you do not want further calls to your cell phone, and
- Explain why.
You can also tell them that calls at particular times are not convenient for you. For example, the law says that you can tell a debt collector that calls during working hours are not appropriate.
What if I Don’t Answer the Debt Collector’s calls?
Debt collector calls to your cell phone are probably permissible if you don’t answer them. That’s because the important part about whether these calls to your cell phone are permissible is whether the debt collector KNOWS you don’t want them to contact you. But with that said, there are still reasonable boundaries to how often you can get called, even if you haven’t talked to a debt collector. If you are getting 5-10 calls per day, that would still probably violate consumer laws.
What if They Don’t Honor my Request to Stop Calling?
If a debt collector chooses to ignore your requests to limit or stop calls to your cell phone, you may be entitled to hold them accountable and seek a recovery under consumer rights law. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) and the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (“FCCPA”) provide that even if a debt is owed, it should be collected with decency. A related law, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) restricts how debt collectors and other companies can call your cell phone using an automated telephone dialer.
A violation of your consumer rights under the FDCPA, FCCPA, and TCPA turns the tables against the debt collector—YOU can sue THEM for their violation! A FDCPA and FCCPA violation can require the debt collector to pay you $1,000.00 in statutory damages for each law, plus actual damages, attorney fees, litigation costs, and, in some circumstances, punitive damages. In some situations, debt collectors in violation of the FDCPA may also waive the underlying debt, or even delete negative credit reporting. A TCPA violation can require the debt collector to pay $500.00 – $1,500.00 PER CALL that was placed in violation of the statute.
Can a Debt Collector Call my Cell Phone Regarding my Spouse’s Debt?
A common scenario in debt collection is that the collector calls one family member about another family member’s debt. This situation especially comes up where the family member who’s not responsible for the debt might be the person who owns the cell phone plan. Once the debt collector becomes aware that the non-debtor is the person who’s in possession of the phone, they should not be discussing the debt with that other party.
If debt collectors have violated your right by calling you on your cell phone, we may be able to represent you with no upfront attorney fees. Let us help you turn the tables against a debt collector for violation of your consumer rights.
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