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Debt Collectors

Consumers have significant legal protection against abuses by creditors and debt collectors. Under the law, a creditor or debt collector may not use profane, obscene or abusive language. A debt collector or creditor may not telephone you at work unless they have been unable to reach you at your residence during the proceeding thirty (30) day period. If your employer does not permit you to receive personal calls at work, or you do not wish to receive such calls at work, notify the debt collector or creditor in writing of this fact. Once this notice is sent, the debt collector or creditor may not contact you at work.

Debt collectors and creditors may not call you at times which are known to be inconvenient. Any collection call placed between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. is considered convenient unless you notify the creditor or debt collector to the contrary.

Debt collectors may not mail collection letters to your place of employment or visit you at your place of employment unless you consent in writing. They may not communicate the fact that you owe a debt to anyone else. It is unlawful to threaten a debtor with arrest or imprisonment if the debtor does not pay. It is also unlawful to threaten to immediately seize the debtors' goods.

Federal and Pennsylvania law provides many other protections to debtors against harassment or abusive behavior in connection with the collection of a debt. If you believe you have been the victim of debt collection abuses, you may obtain a complaint form by calling the Pennsylvania Bureau of Consumer Protection at 814/871-4371 or the Consumer Protection hotline at 800/441 2555.  9/11

If you need to consult with an attorney or would like more information on debt collectors and debt collection , please contact the Erie County Bar Association's Lawyer Referral Service.