Consumer Information

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This information is not intended to be a complete or official summary of collection laws, but simply an attempt to provide an understanding of the provisions of these laws as they pertain to a consumer when contacted by a third-party debt collector, and the most frequently asked questions following such contact. Most of the information presented here applies only to working with third-party debt collection agencies. The association is not able to assist in handling problems or disputes between a consumer and the original creditor.

Avoid Problems by Managing Finances ​

Careful planning and active communication are important tools in effectively managing personal finances, particularly if you are struggling to make payments on your current debt obligations or are being contacted by a debt collector.

Track your Spending

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Plan a Budget

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Protect your Identity

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Communicate with your Creditors

Having trouble making payments on an existing debt? Contact the creditor to discuss alternative payment arrangements. It won’t eliminate your debt, but it can make things more manageable. Communication is particularly important if you are behind in payments to a creditor (e.g., credit card, loan, mortgage, medical) as it may help avoid the debt appearing on credit reports.

Communicate with the Debt Collector

In the event you hear from a debt collector, avoiding a letter or call won’t make the debt go away. The reason for the contact cannot be resolved without the ability to communicate; whether it’s to pay an owed debt, verify an alleged debt or confirm that the debt collector has reached the wrong person.

Know your Rights

Consumers have important rights when contacted by a creditor or debt collector. For more information about consumer rights in debt collection or to ask questions, visit Created by the ACA International Education Foundation, It’s a free resource that does not require log-in or the sharing of personal information.

Frequently Asked Questions

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The creditor generally is not required to let you know it’s referring your account to a collection agency. There are rare exceptions to this rule.
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