Dealing with debt collectors is a frustrating experience for anyone to deal with, regardless of the underlying reasons for the situation. Fortunately, the local laws in California offer a wide range of protections that limit what those agents can do when they contact consumers.

While there isn’t all that much that a debt collector can do to a consumer here in California, there are a few things that are permitted, assuming they are attempting to contact you about a legitimate debt.

Call You (But Not Too Often)

There are strict limits on how frequently a debt collector is permitted to call someone here in California, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t allowed to contact you at all.

In fact, it is considered reasonable for debt collectors to attempt to reach a consumer by phone one time each week, unless the consumer has provided the collection agent with a specific written request that they stop trying to contact them by phone.

Send Letters (But Not Too Many)

Sending collection letters is another thing that debt collectors are permitted to conduct their business in California, but those letters must be accurate and professional.

Any attempt by a debt collector to threaten a consumer in any way is strictly prohibited.

Take You to Court (If They Have Proof)

Assuming they have the necessary documentation to prove that a debt is legitimate, debt collectors can take California residents to court to obtain a judgment against them.

As in any court situation, the burden of proof lies with the creditor, so any doubt about the accuracy of their claim will usually get the case thrown out. However, if they are willing to show up in court with documentation, they may be able to obtain a judgment that entitles them to a percentage of the debtor’s wages.

Garnish Your Wages (If They Obtain a Judgment)

Should a creditor obtain a judgment against a debtor, they are entitled to garnish a percentage of the debtor’s wages until a debt is paid in full. This can be a huge win for the collection agent, and it is usually out of the hands of the debtor or their employer to resist at this point.


These are the specific things debt collectors can do in California, but the most important thing to remember in any situation is that they must be dealing with a legitimate debt that they can prove was authorized by the consumer and has since become delinquent.

California laws provide a wide range of protections for all consumers, so anything outside the bounds of what we have discussed here is likely prohibited.