Debt collection is the process by which debt collectors, anyone authorized by your creditor to demand payment on their behalf, recover a debt you owe. This includes mortgages, personal, student and auto loans, parking tickets and outstanding utility bills. Debt collectors are expected to follow fair debt collection practices stipulated by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which is designed to protect consumers. Thus such acts as contacting you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. are strictly prohibited. But debt collectors do not always comply.