A debt collector is someone who attempts to collect a debt you owe. In Oregon, debt collectors must register with the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services and comply with state and federal fair debt collection laws.
Dealing with Debt Collectors
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Fair Debt Collection Laws
If debt collectors are calling, 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:
- identify themselves during a phone call.
- not misrepresent who they are and who they work for.
- not falsely imply the amount of the debt you owe or any legal action that can be taken against you.
- only contact you between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.
- not continually call your phone or harass you.
- not threaten violence against you or your family or use profane language.
- only contact you at work if they cannot reach you at home between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.
- not call you more than once a week at work and must stop calling you at work if you ask.
How to Dispute a Debt
Within five days after a debt collector contacts you for the first time, they must send a written notice detailing 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:
- Verification you owe the debt if you submit your request within 30 days 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 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 osbar.org » or call 1-800-452-8260.
Learn More From the Federal Trade Commission
- Debt Collection FAQs: A Guide for Consumers
- Consumer Information on “Coping with Debt” | Lidiando con deudas »