CFPB Debt Collection Rule Resource Guide

Sponsored By:

Back to Rule Guide Home

Section 1006.18 False, deceptive, or misleading representations or means

  • (a) In general. A debt collector must not use any false, deceptive, or misleading representation or means in connection with the collection of any debt, including, but not limited to, the conduct described in paragraphs (b) through (d) of this section.
  • (b) False, deceptive, or misleading representations.
    • (1) A debt collector must not falsely represent or imply that:
      • (i) The debt collector is vouched for, bonded by, or affiliated with the United States or any State, including through the use of any badge, uniform, or facsimile thereof.
      • (ii) The debt collector operates or is employed by a consumer reporting agency, as defined by section 603(f) of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. 1681a(f)).
      • (iii) Any individual is an attorney or that any communication is from an attorney.
      • (iv) The consumer committed any crime or other conduct in order to disgrace the consumer.
      • (v) A sale, referral, or other transfer of any interest in a debt causes or will cause the consumer to:
        • (A) Lose any claim or defense to payment of the debt; or
        • (B) Become subject to any practice prohibited by this part.
      • (vi) Accounts have been turned over to innocent purchasers for value.
      • (vii) Documents are legal process.
      • (viii) Documents are not legal process forms or do not require action by the consumer.
    • (2) A debt collector must not falsely represent:
      • (i) The character, amount, or legal status of any debt.
      • (ii) Any services rendered, or compensation that may be lawfully received, by any debt collector for the collection of a debt.
    • (3) A debt collector must not represent or imply that nonpayment of any debt will result in the arrest or imprisonment of any person or the seizure, garnishment, attachment, or sale of any property or wages of any person unless such action is lawful and the debt collector or creditor intends to take such action.
  • (c) False, deceptive, or misleading collection means. A debt collector must not:
    • (1) Threaten to take any action that cannot legally be taken or that is not intended to be taken.
    • (2) Communicate or threaten to communicate to any person credit information that the debt collector knows or should know is false, including the failure to communicate that a disputed debt is disputed.
    • (3) Use or distribute any written communication that simulates or that the debt collector falsely represents to be a document authorized, issued, or approved by any court, official, or agency of the United States or any State, or that creates a false impression about its source, authorization, or approval.
    • (4) Use any business, company, or organization name other than the true name of the debt collector’s business, company, or organization.
  • (d) False representations or deceptive means. A debt collector must not use any false representation or deceptive means to collect or attempt to collect any debt or to obtain information concerning a consumer.
  • (e) Disclosures required.
    • (1) Initial communications. A debt collector must disclose in its initial communication with a consumer that the debt collector is attempting to collect a debt and that any information obtained will be used for that purpose. If the debt collector’s initial communication with the consumer is oral, the debt collector must make the disclosure required by this paragraph again in its initial written communication with the consumer.
    • (2) Subsequent communications. In each communication with the consumer subsequent to the communications described in paragraph (e)(1) of this section, the debt collector must disclose that the communication is from a debt collector.
    • (3) Exception. Disclosures under paragraphs (e)(1) and (2) of this section are not required in a formal pleading made in connection with a legal action.
    • (4) Translated disclosures. A debt collector must make the disclosures required by paragraphs (e)(1) and (2) of this section in the same language or languages used for the rest of the communication in which the debt collector conveyed the disclosures. Any translation of the disclosures a debt collector uses must be complete and accurate.
  • (f) Assumed names. This section does not prohibit a debt collector’s employee from using an assumed name when communicating or attempting to communicate with a person, provided that the employee uses the assumed name consistently and that the debt collector can readily identify any employee using an assumed name

Is There an Area of the Rule You Would Like Further Information About?

Please fill out and submit the form below.

Please enter your email, so we can follow up with you.