How to Deal With Debt Collectors: Stop the Calls!

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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Brett Weiss, a senior partner at The Weiss Law Group, LLC, represents people and businesses in all phases of bankruptcy. He has experience in complex individual Chapter 7, Chapter 11, and Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases, and in Chapter 11 small business restructuring and reorganization. Mr. Weiss lectures nationally on bankruptcy issues. He has testified before the Federal Bankruptcy Rules Committee, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and has twice testified before Congress on bankruptcy and credit issues. Brett Weiss is the co-author of Chapter 11 for Individual Debtors, and has written Not Dead Yet: Bankruptcy After BAPCPA, for the Maryland Bar Journal, as well as hundreds of blogs for the Bankruptcy Law Network. With his colleague, Daniel Press, he recorded a 13-hour basic bankruptcy training series, and leads intensive three-day Chapter 11 training boot camps. Mr. Weiss has received international media attention in connection with his work. He was interviewed by Barbara Walters on The View, has appeared on the Today Show, Good Morning America, ABC News with Peter Jennings, the Montel Williams Show, National Public Radio, AARP-TV, the BBC World Service, German state television, and numerous local radio and television programs, and been quoted in Money magazine, The Washington Post and The Baltimore Sun, among others. Brett Weiss is the previous Maryland State Chair for the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, a founding member of the Bankruptcy Law Network, on the board of the Maryland State Bar Consumer Bankruptcy Council, and a member of the American Bankruptcy Institute and the Bankruptcy Bar Association of Maryland. He has received the Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys for his work on behalf of consumers across the country. Mr. Weiss is admitted to practice before Maryland and District of Columbia federal and state courts, the United States Courts of Appeals for the DC, Fourth and Eighth Circuits, the United States Tax Court, and the Supreme Court of the United States, and has been practicing law since 1983.

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