If a debt collector calls me at work, are they violating the FDCPA?
The answer to this question isn’t simple and varies depending on your situation.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) prohibits debt collectors from contacting consumers at an inconvenient place. Some workplaces are considered inconvenient by nature, which could include places such as hospitals (if the debtor is a nurse or a doctor), restaurants, retail stores, and schools. If you’re not comfortable or it’s inconvenient for the debt collector to contact you at work, you must tell them.
According to the FDCPA, debt collectors are also prohibited from calling you at work if they already know your employer forbids this type of communication. Often times employers enact policies which forbid employees from taking calls for personal business. A policy such as this would prohibit an employee from taking a collection call.
For many occupations, the should already know that an employer won’t allow collection calls. An example could be if you are a police officer, a collector should know that you aren’t allowed to take a collection car while you’re at work. In these situations, it’s up to the debt collector to make the right call and avoid contacting you at work.
The FDCPA is a federal law that governs the behavior of debt collectors focused on consumer debts. Despite the regulations listed above, a debt collector may contact you at work if there is a court order allowing such communications or if you’ve given consent.