Fair Debt Collection Practices Act: Applies to “debt collectors” who collect consumer debts. The definition of “debt collector” is broadly defined as: “any person who uses any instrumentality of interstate commerce or the mails in any business the principal purpose of which is the collection of any debts, or who regularly collects or attempts to collect, directly or indirectly, debts owed or due or asserted to be owed or due to another.” 

The FDCPA generally forbids deceptive, false or misleading practices, prohibits harassment and abuse in connection with debt collection, and provides non-exhaustive lists of what conduct constitutes a prohibited collection practice.  The FDCPA also gives consumers the right, within 30 days after receiving an initial communication from a “debt collector,” to request validation of the alleged debt and imposes a requirement on debt collectors to inform the consumers of that right within 5 days after the initial communication.  Finally, the FDCPA limits what a debt collector can say to third parties when trying to locate the consumer.