26 May How to Deal With Debt Collectors: Stop the Calls!
Debt collectors can make your life miserable. Repeated, angry phone calls at home. Inappropriate calls at work. Nasty letters. It’s enough to make you want to disconnect your phone and tell the mailman you’ve gone on an extended trip.
You don’t have to. There are federal and state laws that protect you from debt collection tactics, and can stop the calls and letters.
A Federal law called the “Fair Debt Collection Practices Act” (FDCPA) is the biggest help. First enacted in 1977, this law provides significant protection to people who are being harassed by collection agents.
It’s actually very simple to get a collection agency to stop calling and writing. Send a certified letter, return receipt requested, stating, “Pursuant to section 1692c(c) of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, please cease all communication with me.”
This will stop everything but two types of communications; telling you that: (1) it will terminate future collection efforts; (2) it may or will invoke specified remedies that are normally invoked by the debt collector (i.e. suing you or sending the case to a lawyer).
If it doesn’t stop, you’ve got a dandy of a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act case against it.
Calls to employers can be dealt with the same way. Tell the collection agent that calls to work are not permitted by your employer, and follow it up with another certified letter, return receipt requested. to the collection agency. This letter and the one discussed above can be combined in a single communication.
Your state’s consumer protection laws may also provide you with additional protections.
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