Are those annoying debt collection calls getting to you? A few years ago, it got to where we were afraid to answer the phone for fear it was another debt collector. It kept us stressed out all the time.
If a company believes you owe them a debt, they do legally have the right to contact you in an effort to collect that debt. However, you have legal rights, too, and with just 30 minutes of work, you can get them to never contact you again.
Here’s how to get debt collectors of all non-business debt to stop harassing you.
Some Things To Do First
It probably is a good idea to actually talk to the collectors just once before you request them to stop contacting you.
That way, you can get a better idea of what’s going on. It’s possible that the debt is actually less than you expected. Or you may be able to negotiate a much better deal than you’d expect.
Often paying just a fraction of your debt is better for you, and for your credit, than if you just defaulted on the debt.
However, if you do choose to ignore your creditors, here’s how to get them to stop contacting you.
Cite the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act
The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) is intended to prevent debt collectors from acting out of line. It prohibits debt collectors from using abusive, unfair, or deceptive practices to collect from you. It can also be your main leverage tool when it comes to getting debt collectors off your back.
If you want debt collectors to stop contacting you, you will need to send them a letter citing the FDCPA. Ask them to cease all contact with you as required by law.
Make sure you send the letter with a return receipt, so you know when they’ve received the letter.
Once the debt collector has received this letter, they are no longer allowed to try to contact you to collect a debt. The only two reasons they can contact you for are to let you know that they’ve added you to their “do not contact” list or to inform you of further action, such as a lawsuit.
You can find many different templates for cease contact request letters by searching online (click here for one by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau). Just print one of these out, replace the address and mail it.
What Happens If They Still Contact You?
If they continue to contact you after you’ve sent them the letter, you have the basis for a lawsuit.
You can be paid up to $1,000 plus legal fees if a debt collector continues to contact you after you’ve requested them to stop. You don’t have to prove damages.
Using this simple method can get a creditor off your back in as little as 30 minutes. All you need to do is buy an envelope and stamps, print out the letter and put on their address. After that, you should either have no more contact or be eligible for a lawsuit if they keep pestering you.
There is a lot more information about how to handle financial problems on the the You Can Live Debt Free website.