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How often can a debt collector call me?

Laws regulating debt collectors prohibit them from placing repeated telephone calls and from engaging in repeated telephone conversations to harass you. The Debt Collection Rule creates rules about the frequency of these calls and conversations that may be used in determining whether the debt collector has violated the law prohibiting telephone harassment.

The CFPB’s Debt Collection Rule clarifying certain provisions of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) became effective on November 30, 2021.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) prohibits debt collectors from placing repeated or continuous telephone calls or conversations to you with the intent to harass, oppress, or abuse you. The Debt Collection Rule clarifies when a debt collector’s actions may have broken this law and creates certain “presumptions” to help determine whether a debt collector has violated this law.

The debt collector is presumed to violate the law if they place a telephone call to you about a particular debt

  • More than seven times within a seven-day period, or
  • Within seven days after engaging in a telephone conversation with you about the particular debt.

A debt collector is presumed to comply with the law if the debt collector does not make calls over either of the above limits.

Generally, the term “particular debt” means each of your debts in collection, so the limits apply per debt. If a debt collector is collecting on multiple debts, there may be other considerations in determining a violation. In the case of student loan debt, depending on the facts, multiple debts could be counted together as one “particular debt.” If so, the limits would apply to those debts as a group.

The call frequency presumptions only apply to calls placed by the debt collector to you. The presumptions only apply to telephone calls, so they don’t apply to text messages, emails, in-person interactions, or social media. There are other protections that apply to those methods of communication.

Factors, such as the frequency and pattern of phone calls and voicemails made, and prior communications, may be used to “rebut” or challenge a presumption that the debt collector complied with or violated the law. For example, if the debt collector placed seven calls to you about a debt within a seven-day period, but all seven calls were made on the same day, they could be violating the law. There are also rules about how a debt collector can contact you on social media.

For more information about repeated or continuous telephone calls or telephone conversations, review the Debt Collection Rule FAQs or see Section 7.1 in the Debt Collection Small Entity Compliance Guide . Your state laws may provide more protection than the FDCPA or the Debt Collection Rule. Check with your state attorneys general office for more information. You have a right to ask a debt collector to stop contacting you. If you are contacted or sued by a debt collector, you may want to contact a lawyer who represents consumers in debt collection matters.

If you're having an issue with debt collection, you can submit a complaint online or by calling (855) 411-CFPB (2372).