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HELPS is a nonprofit law firm and 501(c)(3) charitable organization. We serve senior citizens and disabled persons struggling with debt.

Call HELPS now to learn how your retirement income is protected by law and how we can help.

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Need immediate help? Call 855-435-7787 to speak to a HELPS representative.

Debt Collectors vs. Creditors

The Differences Between an Original Creditor and a Debt Collector

The FDCPA Applies to Debt Collectors

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a federal law that protects debtors against abusive collection tactics by debt collectors. Congress created the FDCPA to prohibit debt collectors from using unfair, deceptive, or abusive practices when collecting consumer debts. The FDCPA generally only applies to third party debt collectors, not original creditors. A creditor is defined as the person or entity that extended you the credit in the first place (the original lender).

Because the FDCPA is designed to protect debtors from third party debt collectors, it does not typically apply to original creditors. If, however, a creditor is collecting its own debts and using a different name to so, the creditor is not exempt from the FDCPA.

HELPS has found that original creditors who are not technically covered by the FDCPA will often cease contact with a debtor when they are notified by HELPS that we represent a person for purposes of communication. If the original creditor does continue to send communication, and the client does not live in a state with protection from original creditor contact (see below) the client can always submit a “change of address” form to the creditor with our address and phone number on it. We will receive the bill on our client's behalf.

Some States Offer Protection From Original Creditors

Many states enhance the FDCPA with their own fair debt collection laws. Some of these states extend protection to unwanted debt collection contact from original creditors. The states with this level of enhanced protection are California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas, and Wisconsin.

Other Exceptions to The FDCPA

Additionally, the FDCPA does not apply to business debts, government agencies collecting debts, or persons not regularly engaged in the business of collecting debts. It also does not apply to debts obtained as security in a commercial credit transaction with the original creditor, like a mortgage or auto loan.

Law Breakers and Overseas Collectors

Scam artists or overseas debt collectors commonly do not follow the law. Scam artists are criminals. Posing as a debt collector works well because people are already scared of debt collectors and worried about their debt. No wonder this is a growing scam in the United States. Overseas debt collectors are not worried about being sued, so they will also flout the FDCA. Internet payday loans are the most common source of overseas debt collectors becoming involved with debt.

Seniors can learn more about HELPS and how we protect seniors and disabled persons from unwanted collector contact by visiting our website or calling toll free 855 435 7787. HELPS turns no qualified senior away, and the most common thing we hear from the people we help is “HELPS brought peace back to my life.”


Eric Olsen, Executive Director HELPS nonprofit law firm.

Find Out More About HELPS

Peace of Mind
These HELPS clients were dealing with harassing debt collectors and anxiety over old Debt. HELPS provided a solution to their financial worries.