Collection agencies are required to follow federal and state laws when trying to collect a debt from you. Fortunately, all states are under the protection of the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The FDCPA is a debt collection law that protects you from intrusive and predatory collection agency practices such as calling you late at night, cursing at you, and trying to collect a debt you don’t owe. Some states, including Colorado, also have laws that provide additional protections for consumers from debt collectors. Here we’ll discuss the consumer protections available to Colorado residents under the Colorado Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (CFDCPA).
Written by Attorney Tori Bramble.
Updated September 13, 2021
Collection agencies are required to follow federal and state laws when trying to collect a debt from you. Fortunately, all states are under the protection of the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The FDCPA is a debt collection law that protects you from intrusive and predatory collection agency practices such as calling you late at night, cursing at you, and trying to collect a debt you don’t owe. Some states, including Colorado, also have laws that provide additional protections for consumers from debt collectors.
You have rights that can empower you and help you to control your dealings with debt collectors. You can contact your state's local consumer office to learn more about how to enforce your legal rights. Here we’ll discuss the consumer protections available to Colorado residents under the Colorado Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (CFDCPA).
The Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)
Under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), it’s illegal for debt collectors to use unfair practices or harass or deceive people when attempting to collect consumer debts. The FDCPA applies to collection agencies and debt collectors who are attempting to collect consumer debts. Credit card debts, car loans, medical bills, and student loans are all consumer debts. The FDCPA doesn’t apply to original creditors or cover business debts.
If a debt collector violates the FDCPA, the collection agency and the individual debt collector can be sued for damages and legal fees. A lawsuit for violation of the FDCPA must be filed no later than one year after the debt collector’s violation.
What debt collectors aren’t allowed to do under the FDCPA:
Call or send letters, emails, or text messages to you to collect a debt before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. unless you agree;
Contact you at work if you tell them you’re not allowed to get calls at work;
Discuss your debt with anyone but you or your spouse;
Contact you if an attorney is representing you;
Harass or threaten you or use profane language; or
Repeatedly call you.
What debtor collectors are allowed to do under the FDCPA:
Contact other people to find out where you live, your current telephone number, or where you work — but they can’t contact anyone more than once or tell anyone you owe a debt;
Contact you at work if you don’t tell them they’re not allowed to;
Call or text you to collect a debt between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.; and
Contact you directly if you don’t have an attorney.
Colorado Protections From Debt Collectors
Colorado has passed various laws to protect its residents from abuse and unfair treatment by debt collectors. The Colorado Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (CFDCPA) applies to debt collectors and collection agencies. The CFDCPA doesn’t apply to those collecting their own debts or United States government employees. The CFDCPA gives consumers specific legal rights and regulates the methods that collection agencies can use during debt collection attempts.
In some ways, the CFDCPA provides more legal rights to consumers than the federal FDCPA because it’s more restrictive than the federal law. Here’s how:
It requires collection agencies that solicit, collect, or attempt to collect debts in Colorado to be licensed with the state.
It requires debt collectors to have a bond to cover what it owes the creditor it’s collecting for.
The CFDCPA also prohibits the debt collector from using unfair or unconscionable means to collect or attempt to collect a debt. Examples of unfair practices include but are not limited to:
Collecting more than what the creditor agreement specifically allows;
Depositing or threatening to deposit a postdated check earlier than the date on the check; and
Taking or threatening to take away a Coloradan's property without a legal right to do so.
The Colorado Uniform Consumer Credit Code (Colorado UCCC)
Colorado has a state law called the Uniform Consumer Credit Code (UCCC) that oversees how consumer credit is handled in the state of Colorado. The UCCC is a code of conduct regulating consumer credit transactions. The UCCC requires lenders, creditors, finance companies, and payday lenders to tell consumers about the cost of credit so they can shop around for the best rates. It also sets maximum rates and charges for all types of consumer credit.
Payday loans, car loans, second mortgages, credit cards issued by the state, and signature loans are covered under the UCCC. But the UCCC doesn’t apply to all consumer transactions. First home mortgages and refinance loans aren’t covered by the UCCC, except for requirements that lenders disclose the cost of credit and give consumers certain legal remedies if the UCCC is violated.
States With the UCCC
While the UCCC hasn’t been adopted nationwide, some states have adopted the UCCC in part or in full with the goal of protecting consumers using credit from deception and fraud. Colorado’s UCCC prohibitions are similar to the federal FDCPA’s prohibitions, but the UCCC also applies to the original consumer lender. The federal FDCPA doesn't apply to the original lender.
Nine states have completely adopted the UCCC: Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wyoming. South Carolina and Wisconsin have adopted parts of the UCCC.
The Colorado Attorney General’s Office, through the Administrator of the Uniform Consumer Credit Code, investigates complaints about lenders and creditors, licenses non-bank lenders such as finance companies and payday lenders, and takes appropriate disciplinary or legal action when a creditor violates the law. This office cannot give legal advice or represent individual consumers in actions against creditors. Consumers may bring legal action against creditors under the UCCC.
The Colorado UCCC provides extra protections along with the federal FDCPA and applies to original creditors, third-party debt collectors, and debt buyers. Under the UCC debt collection agencies aren’t allowed to take part in unfair and unethical debt collection practices such as:
Using or making threats of physical violence to consumers;
Harassing consumers with frequent calls or at unusual hours;
Pretending to be government agencies;
Falsely stating the legal repercussions or remedies if a debt remains unpaid;
Threatening to damage or injure a consumer’s reputation by threatening to publicly disclose their creditworthiness; and
Communicating with a consumer's employer about a credit matter unless the creditor is a judgment creditor (in other words a creditor that has a judgment, like A wage garnishment order, against you).
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What To Do if You Believe a Colorado Debt Collector Has Violated the Law
File a complaint with the Colorado Attorney General’s Office: If you believe a Colorado debt collector has violated your rights under the Colorado UCCC you can report violations to the authorities. If a collection agency has disobeyed the Colorado FDCPA or the Colorado UCCC (if it’s an original creditor) you can file a complaint with the Colorado Attorney General's Office which has the authority to investigate complaints and take disciplinary or legal action against debt collectors that violate the Colorado FDCPA.
File a complaint with the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB): The CFPB is there to protect you from unfair, deceptive, or abusive debt collector tactics. The CFPB takes action against companies that violate federal laws.
Take legal action: You can file a lawsuit against the debt collection agency if your legal rights are violated while they are attempting to collect a debt from you. If you think a debt collector or collection agency has violated the Colorado FDCPA or federal FDCPA you can talk to a lawyer and find out if you can file a lawsuit (provided the statute of limitations for taking action hasn't expired). If you win your case, you can get your actual damages because of the violation(s), and additional damages or up to but not more than $1,000.
The CFDCPA is a Colorado law that protects Colorado consumers from unfair debt collection practices. The FDCPA is a federal debt collection law that regulates how debt collectors or collection agencies can collect debts. The Colorado Uniform Consumer Credit Code (UCCC) protects how people are treated in Colorado credit transactions.
If you’re struggling with debt, don’t allow yourself to be victimized by illegal debt collection practices. Make sure you know your rights under the federal FDCPA and Colorado Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Be sure to keep track of any violations and talk to a bankruptcy attorney if you think your rights have been violated. A bankruptcy attorney can help you file a claim against anyone who violates your legal rights while collecting a debt and may help you file for bankruptcy to eliminate a debt.