Kathleen G. Kane - Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General - Protecting Pennsylvanians

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Fair Debt Collection Practices

Pennsylvania's Fair Credit Extension Uniformity Act seeks to protect consumers from certain unfair or deceptive debt collection practices. The following is a summary of the relevant provisions.

The following debt collection practices are not permitted without your express permission or permission granted through a court order:

  • contacting you at unusual times or places
  • contacting you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
  • contacting you at work (if the debt collector is aware your employer does not allow such contact)
  • contacting you when the debt collector is aware you are represented by an attorney

Debt collector & third party communications:

  • debt collectors may only contact third parties to ascertain your location/whereabouts
  • debt collectors may not reveal to third parties that you owe debt

Debt collector may not harass you, or third parties in connection with collecting a debt:

  • debt collectors may not use threats of violence or harm
  • debt collectors may not use profane or obscene language
  • debt collectors may not repeatedly use the telephone to annoy
  • debt collectors may not publish a list of debtors (except lists sent to credit bureaus)

Unfair and deceptive debt collection practices are not permissible:

  • debt collectors may not make false implications of government affiliation
  • debt collectors may not assert false threats of legal action or legal status
  • debt collectors may not falsely imply you committed a crime
  • debt collectors may not deposit a postdated check prematurely

Although the Fair Credit Extension Uniformity Act does protect consumers from illegal methods of collection, the best way to protect yourself from unfair debt collection practices is to avoid excessive debt altogether. Also, it is a good idea to keep a log of when you receive your bills; that way, when a bill does not arrive on time, you can call the company and inquire into its absence and likely avoid any late fees. If you feel a debt collector has violated the law, you should also take steps to document such behavior.

If you have any questions regarding debt collection practices or you feel that you may a victim of unfair debt collection practices you can contact the Office of Attorney General's Bureau of Consumer Protection at 1-800-441-2555 or visit our website at www.attorneygeneral.gov.