Kemp Klein

Creditors, Before You Contact a Delinquent Debtor

By Gloria M. Chon

Frustration is natural for a creditor dealing with a delinquent debtor. However, if the debtor borrowed money primarily for personal, family or household purposes, there are specific federal and state rules that regulate the creditor’s collection efforts. Below are some of the rules that a creditor should know regarding the collection of such debts.

A creditor may not harass or abuse a debtor when attempting to collect against the debtor. This includes using abusive language, violence, or even threatening to use violence.

A creditor may not publicly humiliate a debtor or communicate information regarding the debt to third parties, such as the debtor’s employer. In addition, a creditor may not communicate with a debtor at a place or time that the creditor knows to be inconvenient for the debtor. In fact, most communication made before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. will be presumed to be an inconvenient time. A creditor may not call the debtor repeatedly with the intent to annoy or harass the debtor. Nor may a creditor contact the debtor in a manner that will incur a charge for the debtor, for example, by collect call. The laws also prohibit a creditor from communicating with a debtor regarding the debt by post card.

A creditor must cease communication regarding the debt if the debtor makes a written request that the creditor cease such communication. The creditor may then contact the debtor only to notify him or her that the creditor will invoke specified remedies, such as filing a lawsuit. A creditor must also cease communication when a debtor files for bankruptcy.


For further information or questions regarding your rights as a creditor, please contact Kemp Klein.