A debt collector is someone who attempts to collect a debt you owe to someone else. In Oregon, debt collectors who have been hired to collect on behalf of the person to whom the debt is owed must register with the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services and comply with fair debt collection laws.
Fair debt collection laws. If debt collectors are calling you, you have certain protections under both the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and a nearly identical state law.
Debt collectors must follow certain procedures to collect on a debt. They must:
- Not misrepresent who they are or who they work for.
- Not falsely imply the amount of the debt or any legal action that can be taken.
- Only contact you between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.
- Not continually call your phone or harass you. During a phone call, a debt collector must identify him/herself and may not threaten violence against you or your family or use profane language.
- Only contact you at work if he or she cannot reach you at home in the between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.
- Not call you more than one time a week at work and must stop calling you at work if you tell the debt collector not to contact you at work.
How to dispute a debt. Within five days after the contact you for the first time, a debt collector must (unless they are the original creditor) send a written notice telling you the amount you owe, who you owe it to, and how much time you have to dispute the validity of the debt. If you do not dispute the validity of the debt, or any part of the debt, within 30 days of the date you receive the notice, the debt will be assumed to be valid.
Debt collectors must provide you with verification for the following things if you submit a written request for it:
- Verification that you owe the debt if you submit your request within 30 days after of the debt collector’s initial contact. (If you do not the debt is assumed to be valid).
- The name and address of the original creditor (if different from the current creditor).
If you notify a debt collector in writing that you want the debt collector to stop contacting you or that you are not going to pay the debt, the debt collector must stop contacting you, except to notify you:
- Of potential legal action to collect the debt.
- That the debt collector will no longer be trying to collect the debt.
If you think you have been victimized by a debt collector, or want to notify us about an individual, company or agency that may be engaging in unlawful debt collection practices, please complete and submit a Consumer Complaint Form or call 1-877-877-9392.
If you think an Oregon lawyer has violated a disciplinary rule by trying to collect on a debt you have already paid, you can file a written complaint with the Oregon State Bar Client Assistance Office. Visit them online at www.osbar.org or call (800) 452-8260.
Learn more from the Federal Trade Commission
Information For Businesses
Applicable State Law: