DEFINITION of 'Debt Collector'

A company or agency that is in the business of recovering money that is owed on delinquent accounts. Many debt collectors are hired by companies to which money is owed by debtors, operating for a fee or for a percentage of the total amount collected. Some debt collectors are debt buyers; these companies purchase debt at a fraction of its face value and then attempt to recover the full amount of the debt.

BREAKING DOWN 'Debt Collector'

Debt collectors are monitored by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which enforces the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The FDCPA prohibits debt collectors from using abusive, unfair or deceptive practices during the debt collection process. For instance, debt collectors are not allowed to contact debtors before 8:00 AM or after 9:00 PM, nor can they falsely claim that a debtor will be arrested if he or she does not pay.

  1. Debt Buyer

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  1. Can debt collectors add fees to my debt?

    Find out when a debt collector is legally allowed to charge interest and fees on a past-due debt and if a debtor can contest ... Read Answer >>
  2. What are my rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)?

    Read about the rights and protections granted to you as a debtor under the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, and learn ... Read Answer >>
  3. Can a debt collector contact me about a debt that's no longer on my credit report?

    Learn about the circumstances that allow a debt collector to contact a consumer about a past-due debt that is not on a credit ... Read Answer >>
  4. What legal action can I take against a debt collector?

    Find out what legal recourse is available to you as a consumer if you are being harassed by a debt collector that has violated ... Read Answer >>
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