537.7101 Short title.
This article shall be known and may be cited as the "Iowa Debt Collection Practices Act."
537.7103 Prohibited practices.
1. A debt collector shall not collect or attempt to collect a debt by means of an illegal threat, coercion or attempt to coerce. The conduct described in each of the following paragraphs is an illegal threat, coercion or attempt to coerce within the meaning of this subsection:
a. The use, or express or implicit threat of use, of force, violence or other criminal means, to cause harm to a person or to property of a person.
b. The false accusation or threat to falsely accuse a person of fraud or any other crime.
c. False accusations made to a person, including a credit reporting agency, or the threat to falsely accuse, that a debtor is willfully refusing to pay a just debt. However, a failure to reply to requests for payment and a failure to negotiate disputes in good faith are deemed willful refusal.
d. The threat to sell or assign to another an obligation of the debtor with an attending representation or implication that the result of the sale or assignment will be to subject the debtor to harsh, vindictive or abusive collection attempts.
e. The false threat that nonpayment of a debt may result in the arrest of a person or the seizure, garnishment, attachment or sale of property or wages of that person.
f. An action or threat to take an action prohibited by this chapter or any other law.
2. A debt collector shall not oppress, harass or abuse a person in connection with the collection or attempted collection of a debt of that person or another person. The following conduct is oppressive, harassing or abusive within the meaning of this subsection:
a. The use of profane or obscene language or language that is intended to abuse the hearer or reader and which by its utterance would tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace.
b. The placement of telephone calls to the debtor without disclosure of the name of the business or company the debt collector represents.
c. Causing expense to a person in the form of long distance telephone tolls, telegram fees or other charges incurred by a medium of communication by attempting to deceive or mislead persons as to the true purpose of the notice, letter, message or communication.
d. Causing a telephone to ring or engaging a person in telephone conversation repeatedly or continuously or at unusual hours or times known to be inconvenient, with intent to annoy, harass or threaten a person.
3. A debt collector shall not disseminate information relating to a debt or debtor as follows:
a. The communication or threat to communicate or imply the fact of a debt to a person other than the debtor or a person who might reasonably be expected to be liable for the debt, except with the written permission of the debtor given after default. For the purposes of this paragraph, the use of language on envelopes indicating that the communication relates to the collection of a debt is a communication of the debt. However, this paragraph does not prohibit a debt collector from any of the following:
(1) Notifying a debtor of the fact that the debt collector may report a debt to a credit bureau or engage an agent or an attorney for the purpose of collecting the debt.
(2) Reporting a debt to a credit reporting agency or any other person reasonably believed to have a legitimate business need for the information.
(3) Engaging an agent or attorney for the purpose of collecting a debt.
(4) Attempting to locate a debtor whom the debt collector has reasonable grounds to believe has moved from the debtor's residence, where the purpose of the communication is to trace the debtor, and the content of the communication is restricted to requesting information on the debtor's location.
(5) Communicating with the debtor's employer or credit union not more than once during any three-month period when the purpose of the communication is to obtain an employer's or credit union's debt counseling services for the debtor. In the event no response is received by the debt collector from a communication to the debtor's employer or credit union the debt collector may make one inquiry as to whether the communication was received. In addition a debt collector may respond to any communications by a debtor's employer or credit union.
(6) Communicating with the debtor's employer once during any one-month period, if the purpose of the communication is to verify with an employer the fact of the debtor's employment and if the debt collector does not disclose, except as permitted in subparagraph (5), information other than the fact that a debt exists. This subparagraph does not authorize a debt collector to disclose to an employer the fact that a debt is in default.
(7) Communicating the fact of the debt not more than once in any three-month period, with the parents of a minor debtor, or with any trustee of any property of the debtor, conservator of the debtor or the debtor's property, or guardian of the debtor. In addition, a debt collector may respond to inquiry from a parent, trustee, conservator or guardian.
(8) Communicating with the debtor's spouse with the consent of the debtor, or responding to inquiry from the debtor's spouse.
b. The disclosure, publication, or communication of information relating to a person's indebtedness to another person, by publishing or posting a list of indebted persons, commonly known as "deadbeat lists", or by advertising for sale a claim to enforce payment of a debt when the advertisement names the debtor.
c. The use of a form of communication to the debtor, except a telegram, an original notice or other court process, or an envelope displaying only the name and address of a debtor and the return address of the debt collector, intended or so designed as to display or convey information about the debt to another person other than the name, address, and phone number of the debt collector.