The FDCPA prohibits contacts with third parties if the collector knows the debtor is represented by an attorney, otherwise contact with third parties is permitted, but only to locate the debtor. In practice, a writing is required advising of attorney representation to avoid a he said/she said dispute.
The collector must inform the debtor in every communication that the communication is from a debt collector. The collector must send the consumer a dispute/verification invitation within five days of initial contact, and the collector must suspend collection until the debt is verified if a dispute is received within 30 days.
Telephone communications are restricted between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. Contact at work is prohibited only if the collector has reason to believe such communications is against employer policy.
A debt collector may not harass, oppress, or abuse a consumer, but this is not defined and is left up to the courts. A collector may not publish a list of nonpayers, except to credit bureaus, or use obscene or profane language, or make repeated telephone calls for annoyance purposes.
Debt collectors may not use false or misleading means to collect a debt, and may not collect more than is justly owed.