Debt Collectors are governed by federal law under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“Act”) which:

♦ prohibits abusive debt collection (may not harass you, oppress you or abuse you).

♦ prohibits them from calling you at work.

♦ prohibits debt collectors from adding any charges to your debt that were not previously included in your agreement with the original creditor.

♦ prohibits debt collectors from speaking to third parties about your debt.

♦ prohibits collections against debts that are more than 10 years old.

♦ prohibits debt collectors from calling if you tell them you want no further contact (if you tell them you are represented by an attorney and give the lawyer’s name and address; if the collector continues to contact you and not the lawyer, he will be in violation of federal law).

♦ requires debt collectors to identify themselves as collectors.

♦ requires debt collectors to call only between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.

♦ requires that, within five days of the debt collection agency’s first communication with you, they must send you written notice, which notice must include

(1) the amount of the debt,

(2) the name of the original creditor,

(3) language regarding your right to dispute the debt’s validity, and

(4) language stating that it is an attempt to collect a debt and that information obtained will be used for that purpose.  When you receive such notice, you have 30 days to dispute the debt or they will consider it valid.  If you dispute it, they must send you verification of the debt.