If you’re tired of dealing with a phone that rings off the hook because creditors won’t stop calling you, take heart. You don’t have to put up with it. You have rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
If you don’t want to put up with it though, you’re going to have to take some extra steps. Collectors are always happy to call you and badger you if you leave the door open. Today, we’re going to help you close that door.
Write up the following letter and send it to your collector, certified mail, return receipt requested.
In Re: [Account Number]
Your office has contacted me in regards to an [amount] debt owed to [original creditor].
Pursuant to the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, I am informing your office that you may only contact me in writing via the United States Postal Service from now on. Please cease and desist any efforts to contact me via phone, email, text message, or messenger.
Document the date you sent the letter and to whom. If that specific collection agency contacts you again they’ve violated the FDCPA, and they can be held liable for that violation.
Keep in mind, though, that nothing stops them from taking certain actions in response.
One action they might take is to sell the debt, which means you’re going to have to write the letter again, this time to the new collections office.
If the debt is large enough and within the statute of limitations, their next step may be to file a lawsuit against you. While this isn’t the end of the world, it’s important to know the steps you should take: namely, getting an attorney, gathering your documentation, and showing up for your court date. There’s a chance the collection agency won’t even be able to prove you owe the debt, which means they might not be able to sue successfully.
In some cases, the next step should be bankruptcy, perhaps even before any court dates for a debt lawsuit. The automatic stay will put a stop to the lawsuit just as it will put a stop to any other collection activities.
The letter gives you temporary reprieve. This is good, because you don’t need the stress of constant collection calls. It’s not perfect, since you can start to feel badgered by piles of letters, too.
Bankruptcy will get these people off of your back for good.
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