Black Friday is over. Next up for some shoppers are hefty credit card bills.

Keeping debts manageable is important, since failing to make payments can damage credit ratings, bring collection agency calls, and even lead to paycheck garnishments.

One of the first reminders that bills are going unpaid is often a phone call from a debt collector. These calls can be annoying, but there are limits to when and where collectors can contact the debtor. If collectors start calling at work, both employees and employers should be aware that such calls must stop upon request.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act says that debt collectors may not contact a person at a place of work if the collector knows, or has reason to believe, that the employer prohibits such communication. In other words, if company policy prohibits employees from taking such calls at work, the debt collection agency must stop calling that person at work upon being informed of the policy. Also, collectors may not call at “unusual” times, which typically means before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.

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