Under Massachusetts Law
The Massachusetts Attorney General’s Debt Collection Regulations prohibit
many unfair debt collection practices by creditors, 940 C.M.R. 7.00, and regulations
of the Massachusetts Division of Banks prohibit unfair debt collection practices
by debt collection agencies, 209 CMR 18.00.
When communicating directly with you, creditors and collection agencies may
- Call you at home more than twice for each debt in any seven-day period,
or more than twice for each debt in any thirty-day period at some place other
than your home, such as your place of work.
- Call you at work if you have requested that they not call. Your oral request
that a collector not call you at work is valid for ten (10) days only. Written
requests are valid until you write to the collector removing the restriction.
- Call you without identifying both the name of the creditor and the name
of the person calling. The caller may use a name other than his or her own,
but the creditor or collection agency on whose behalf the call is being made
must be able to identify that person.
- Contact you directly, if you have told the creditor or collection agency
you are represented by an attorney.
- Use profane or obscene language.
- Cause expense to you in the form of long distance calls, express mail
charges, wire fees, or other similar charges.
- Falsely threaten to take legal action that the creditor does not take
or reasonably intend to take.
- Tell anyone (including your friends, neighbors, relatives, or employers)
about your debt, without your written consent.
- Mail to you any printed or written materials that reveal or imply that
you owe a debt (for example, by using a postcard to contact you or using
a descriptive return address).
- Solicit post-dated checks from you.
- Visit your home at times other than your normal waking hours. A collector
may not visit you more than once in any thirty-day period for each debt,
unless you give permission for additional visits.
- Call you at times other than your normal waking hours. If your waking
hours are unknown, then the collector may only call between 8:00 a.m. and
- A creditor must allow you or your attorney to inspect any document on
which the creditor is relying to prove that you owe the debt being collected,
e.g., a credit card application, account statement, promissory note, ledger,
account card, or similar record in the creditor’s possession, which
reflects the date and amount of payments, credits and charges related to
the debt. Failure to do so is an unfair or deceptive act or practice under
the Attorney General’s Debt Collection Regulations, 940 CMR 7.08.
- Under State and Federal Law, if you want all debt collection contact to
stop, and it is a debt collection agency (as opposed to the creditor itself)
that is contacting you, you have the right to make a request in writing that
all such contact stop. 15 U.S.C. 1692c(c), 209 CMR 18.14(3). Once you have
made such a written request, the debt collection agency may not contact you
again; however, the agency will still be permitted to sue you to try and
collect the debt.
Creditors and debt collection agencies are permitted to try to locate a
debtor by contacting persons other than the debtor or persons residing in
the debtor’s household, if the creditor or debt collection agency reasonably
believes that it no longer has current information on the debtor’s
location. However, it may not inform anyone it calls about your debt.