What Debt Collectors Are NEVER Allowed to Say to You (but do)

Written by Alex Bach

We try to pay our bills on time but sometimes things happen, payments are missed and the account goes to a credit collection agency.

These collection agencies then flood our phones with their attempts to collect that debt, usually making some sort of promise or vague threat to try and get us to pay today. But are they allowed to? Just what are creditors allowed to say to us; and, maybe more importantly, what aren’t they allowed to say?

And if after reading this list you feel your creditor may be out of line or infringing upon your rights, it might be time to hit them with a law suit. Learn more about how to sue debt collection agencies and keep illegitimate ones off your back.

Here Are Some Things Creditors Are Never Allowed to Ask You:


This should go without saying but it’s a sure sign of a bogus or shady collection agency if they start swearing at you in order to get your money.

Imply Guilt or Threaten Arrest

The kind of debt collected by collection agencies is not a criminal offense and certainly not a jailable offense. Don’t let creditors let you believe you could go to jail if your debt is not paid. Some debts, like alimony or child support, can lead to criminal charges but remember: any criminal debts will be sought by police, not collection agencies.

Lie or Falsify

Collection agencies must give you truthful information, they may not give you fake names or contact info, lie about who they are (i.e. claiming they’re a lawyer if they aren’t), send out bogus court or legal documents, or tell you certain documents are not legal documents if in fact they are.

They also cannot claim to be from a credit reporting bureau or agency like Experian or TransUnion.

Lie About The Amount Owed

While part of the last section, this deserves it’s own paragraph. Collection agencies are absolutely not allowed to change the amounts you owe or tell you that you owe anything more or less than what you owe. They might try to tell you the amount is less so the account remains open and the interest accrues.

Threaten to Share Your Info

Lastly, bogus collection agencies will sometimes try and threaten you with the claim that they will publish your information or your inability to pay your debts. This is absolutely not allowed.

So keep an eye out and if you happen upon a shady or suspect collection agency, alert them that you know your rights–which includes the right to sue. That should keep them honest or scare illegitimate ones away.