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Consumer Rights Information

The Colorado Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (CFDCPA) protects consumers from unfair and abusive debt collection practices. It applies to debt collectors, collection agencies, and companies that buy and collect debts in default. The CFDCPA does not apply to creditors who collect their own debts.

This following information outlines your most important rights under the CFDCPA. 

Remember: The FDCPA and CFDCPA does not protect you from paying legitimate bills you owe. You are legally responsible for the payment of these debts.

Actions which are not prohibited

The CFDCPA does not prevent a debt collector from:

  • Contacting you by telephone, letter, telegram or in person (unless you have requested in writing that the collection agency not contact you or you are represented by an attorney).
  • Refusing partial payment or suing you unless you have a payment agreement with the collection agency and are complying with it.
  • Adding interest to the debt if permitted by law or contract.
  • Adding information about the debt to your credit report. However, if you dispute the debt, it must be reported as disputed.
  • Adding the following charges for a “bounced check” (check not paid by your bank upon presentment due to insufficient funds or a closed account): (1) a return check charge up to $20 if posted at the creditor’s business or in your contract; and (2) collection costs of $20 or 20% of the check amount - whichever is greater; and (3) the amount of the check. If you receive a notice to pay an NSF check and do not pay all charges within 15 days from the date the notice was mailed or served, the collection agency can generally sue you for 3 times the amount of the check for a minimum of $100 plus court costs and reasonable attorney fees. For example, if you write a check for $4.50 and it bounces, you may owe $44.50. If you do not respond to the 15 day notice, the collection agency might sue you and get a court judgment for $300 ($100 for the check amount, $150 for attorney fees, and $50 for court costs).

Your Rights

  • You may dispute the debt (or any part of it) within 30 days after receiving the first notice. Your dispute must be in writing. The collection agency must then stop collection efforts until it mails you proof of the debt (a bill or court judgment) and the name of the original creditor if requested (if different from the creditor listed on the collection notice).
  • You may inform the collection agency to stop calling you at work or at home, limit the hours during which they call, or to contact you only in writing only. Your request must be in writing. The collection agency must comply with your request but may sue you if it believes the debt is valid. If you are sued, you have the right to appear and defend yourself in court.
  • You may refuse to pay the debt or inform the collection agency to cease communication. Your request must be in writing. The collection agency may send you one final notice of its intentions. It must then comply with your request but may sue you if it believes the debt is valid. If you are sued, you have the right to appear and defend yourself in court.
  • You may ask the collection agency for a copy of your payment history. The request must be in writing. You are entitled to one copy a year free of charge. The collection agency may charge up to $5.00 for additional copies.

Communication

A debt collector may not:

  • Contact you by postcard.
  • Use an envelope that shows that the sender is a collection agency or that the contents concern a debt.
  • Call you before 8:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m. your time or at any other time or place which the debt collector knows is inconvenient for you. (If 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. is inconvenient, notify the collection agency in writing and state when you can be called).
  • Discuss the debt with those who do not owe it without your consent or a court order. The debt collector cannot state he is a debt collector or affiliated with a collection agency unless specifically asked. (A spouse or co-signor is generally responsible for the debt and may be contacted). Neighbors and relatives may only be contacted to obtain your address and phone number.
  • Contact you if you are represented by an attorney. (You should provide the attorney’s name and telephone number to the collection agency).