How to Get Debt Collectors to Leave You Alone
One of the biggest concerns that consumers have when they talk about debt collectors is that they often just want the debt collector to stop contacting them at all. Putting aside whether or not that’s actually a good idea, there are ways to get debt collectors to simply stop contacting you. However, the law must be followed very closely in order to have a legal right to have communications cease.
The RIght to Stop Communications
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) specifically allows consumers to request that debt collectors stop contacting them. The request to have all communications cease must be made in writing by the consumer. There is no specific legal language required, and you do not even need to give a reason why you want the communications to cease.
Your letter should clearly state that you wish to no longer be contacted. Simply saying “I cannot pay” or “this debt is not valid” is not the same as saying “please don’t contact me.”
The law does not require that your letter be sent certified, but it may be a good idea in order to prove the letter was received.
Sending it to the Right Place
One of the biggest difficulties is that consumers will often send the letter, but send it to the incorrect address. It can be confusing where to send these letters, when there is an original creditor, a debt collector, a debt buyer, and/or a debt collector collecting for a debt buyer. Your collection letters may look like they have 5 different company names on them.
In most cases, letters will specifically provide an address where communications can be sent. You can also ask the debt collector calling where to send correspondence. Your cease and desist letter should be sent to that address.
Be very careful about sending letters through the internet—in other words, try to avoid using debt collectors’ websites to send letters, even if the website seems like it has an online form or portal. In some cases, the website you are using may not be the one owned by the actual debt collector. In those cases, the debt collector may still be able to contact you, arguing that they never received notice.
The FDCPA also has another way that you can stop collection calls. You can orally tell the debt collector that certain times of the day are inconvenient for you. For example, if you are a teacher you may tell a debt collector that you cannot talk before 2 or 3pm. If you are temporarily somewhere you cannot talk, for example on a week’s vacation, or in a hospital, you can tell the debt collector orally that it is an inconvenient time or place to be contacted.
Because this request is oral, you should make a note of when (the date) you made the request, what you said, and to whom at the collection company you made the request.
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