What Is a Debt?

What is a "Debt" Under the FDCPA & RFDCPA?

"Debts" covered by federal and California debt collector law include amounts owed for:

1. Personal expenses

2. Family expenses

3. Household expenses

Some common examples of personal, family, or household "debts" are money owed for:

  • A car, truck, motorcycle, or other vehicle
  • Medical care
  • Insurance
  • Furniture or appliances
  • Payday, finance company, or other loans for personal, family, or household purposes
  • Charge accounts at department stores
  • Bills for other personal, family, or household expenses

Business debts are not covered. For example, if a business or its owner owes money for business expenses, the FDCPA and RFDCPA do not apply.

However, if a debt collector is trying to collect from you for a personal, family, or household debt, you are entitled to the complete protections of the law. The debt collector cannot use harassment --forbidden tactics -- against you. Many people owe debts but cannot pay because of financial circumstances, disputes about the quality or other problems with the services or things they bought, or disputes about how much is owed. Regardless of why you are not paying the debt, you are entitled to proper treatment and respect at all times.

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