If you’re struggling with unmanageable debt and unpaid bills, you are probably already familiar with letters and phone calls from debt collectors. Like most Oregon residents who are in the same situation, you are probably wondering which actions taken by creditors are permitted by law and if there are any that are prohibited.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, it was not uncommon for creditors to resort to abusive practices while attempting to collect a debt. These practices led to the development of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. This law not only protects consumers from abusive or fraudulent collection attempts, but it allows creditors a fair chance to attempt to collect on debts.

Simply put, your lenders may contact you by letter or telephone to advise you of debts owed and to negotiate payment options. However, communication may not be excessive or occur at inconvenient times and places, such as at your place of employment. If you notify the creditor in writing that you wish the communication to stop, he or she will no longer be allowed to contact you. A creditor is, however, allowed to inform you that he or she will cease communication or intends to take legally permitted legal action to collect the debt.

If a collection agent uses threats, repeated phone calls, deceptive practices or obscene language during collection attempts, he or she is in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Because there are additional rules that clarify the type of communication a creditor is allowed to engage in during collection attempts, it is important to understand that this information is not meant to be taken as legal advice.