Debt Collection & Agencies
Knowing your rights as a consumer is the best way to protect yourself from abusive lending practices. You should have all fees and terms of your loan presented to you in writing and you should read and understand them completely before you sign.
The Community Financial Services Association (CFSA) has a process for customers to file grievances in which it will investigate and hear your case objectively. Click here to file a complaint.
What is the US debt collection law and how does it pertain to me?
The United States has some of the toughest consumer protection laws when it comes to debt collection.
Per the US debt collection law, consumers have certain legal rights. Keep in mind that the process of debt collection is not illegal, it is just that the agencies that offer these services cannot harass or threaten debtors by any means. If they do, legal action can be taken against them.
Laws Prohibit Any Kind of Harassment
US law states that you have the right not to be harassed psychologically, physically, or by any other means. Debt collectors that harass or threaten you can have criminal charges brought against them. If someone is contacting you at work, threatening you with arrest or using inappropriate language you should contact the Federal Trade Commission and the appropriate authorities.
You Can Contact the Department Of Consumer Affairs
If debt collectors threaten or intimidate you or attempt to force you to pay the outstanding debts by using violence or obscene language, you have the right to file complaints to the Department of Consumer Affairs. The US debt collection law also allows you to report the incident to police and take legal actions against the collectors.
Right Regarding Phone Calls
Though debt collection agencies have the right to phone debtors, all such calls must be made between 8 am and 9 pm. This does not mean they can contact you dozens of times a day as this amounts to harassment. Under US law, they may not phone you more than twice a week. If they do, it is a punishable criminal offense.
You have the right to make sure your privacy is maintained and protected. US debt collection law prohibits debtors from revealing your financial details to others or from publicizing your debt problems. Even if they contact a third party to find you, they must protect your privacy. They may not contact your friends, families, or employers for any other reason than to locate you.
Legal Rights on Disputed Debts
If you file a dispute, the collector(s) must stop contacting you as long as the investigation is on and until the dispute is resolved. Collection activities may resume if you still owe certain debts or some kind of settlement is reached.
US debt collection law grants you the right to request in writing that debt collectors stop contacting you by any means. If this request is not honored, you may file a police report. Though they cannot contact you in such cases, they may still mail you legal notices.
How do I file a complaint with the Community Financial Services Association (CFSA)?
If you are a payday loan customer and believe a CFSA member company has engaged in unlawful or unfair lending practices, you may submit a formal grievance to CFSA’s ethics committee. The ethics committee will review your case and determine if a violation of CFSA best practices has occurred. If so, the committee will decide what action should be taken against the CFSA member.
To file a grievance, please fill out the send an e-mail to LoanQuestions@CFSAA.com or call CFSA’s Hotline 1-888-572-9329 from 9 am to 5 pm EST.