In an attempt to protect your privacy, the FDCPA restricts the times and places a debt collector may attempt to contact you. Here is the relevant section of the FDCPA dealing with the allowable times for communication (including telephone calls, voicemails, emails, snail mail, and in-person communications):
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act: 15 U.S.C. § 1692c(a)(1)
(a) Communication with the consumer generally—Without the prior consent of the consumer given directly to the debt collector or the express permission of a court of competent jurisdiction, a debt collector may not communicate with a consumer in connection with the collection of any debt—
(1) at any unusual time or place or a time or place known or which should be known as inconvenient to the consumer. In the absence of knowledge of circumstances to the contrary, a debt collector shall assume that the convenient time for communicating with a consumer is after 8 o’clock [a.m.] and before 9 o’clock [p.m.], local time at the consumer’s location[.]
Any phone call received from a debt collector between 9:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. is made at an unusual or inconvenient time.
In addition to the after 9pm and before 8am restriction, a debt collector is prohibited from calling at any time known to be inconvenient or unusual for a particular consumer (such as daytime hours for a consumer who works at night). This statutory requirement (that the debt collector not contact the consumer at a time which should be known to be inconvenient) places a burden on the debt collector to pay careful attention to the information in his collection file, and to carefully listen to the consumer’s statements about the convenience of the call. If a consumer tells the debt collector that this is not a convenient time for them to call, the debt collector must cease calling at that time. For example, a debt collector must not call a consumer after being told the consumer was busy serving customers.
Collection telephone calls from a debt collector could be inconvenient for many other reasons: the consumer might be entertaining friends, eating a meal, or attending to an illness in the family. Debt collectors should preface their calls with an inquiry about the convenience of the call at that time, but most do not.
Other FDCPA provisions closely regulate what may be said in debt collection telephone conversations, as is discussed in our other debt harassment articles.