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How to stop debt collection calls

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How to stop debt collection calls

Post by mrgolf on Sat Feb 26, 2011 12:53 pm

Found this article in about.com

Calls from debt collectors can be very annoying, to say the least. For some, the calls are so bothersome that phone numbers have to be changed or disconnected to stop debt collection calls.

When Can Debt Collectors Call

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is the Federal law that says what debt collectors can and can't do. For starters, they aren't to call you about a debt that you don't owe. When a debt collector first contacts you about a debt, you have the right to request them to verify the debt is yours. If the debt collector can't come back with proof that you owe the debt, they're not allowed to contact you anymore. Make Debt Collectors Prove You Owe

Even without sending a validation request, debt collectors have certain rules they must follow when it comes to contacting you over the phone. For example, they can't call you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. your local time. They can't call you repeatedly, and they can't call you at anytime you've previously stated is inconvenient. For specific situations timing of debt collector calls check out When Can Debt Collectors Call.

Stop Debt Collection Calls

There's no law that says you have to communicate with a debt collector by phone. If you hang up on a debt collector there is nothing they can do about it. But, if the collector continues to call you repeatedly even after you have hung up on them, they are in violation of the FDCPA.

All you have to do to stop debt collectors from calling you is tell them that you prefer to communicate with them in writing. Written communication works in your favor because it gives you a record of everything that is said. If the debt collector violate the FDCPA, you have hard evidence that could lead to a lawsuit in your favor. Keep in mind that, by law, the debt collector does not have to honor this request.

The surest way to stop debt collectors from calling you is by sending what is known as a cease and desist letter. In the letter, state that the collector should cease and desist further communication with you. Note that the cease and desist letter only applies to debt collectors, not the original creditor.

What Happens After the Cease and Desist

Once the collection agency receives your cease and desist letter they can communicate with you once more, via mail, letting you know one of three things: that further efforts to collect the debt are terminated, that certain actions may be taken by the debt collector, or that the debt collector is definitely going to take certain actions.

When you send the cease and desist letter to the debt collector, send it via certified mail with return receipt requested. This will provide proof that the letter was sent and received. If the debt collector communicates with you beyond the single instance allowed by law, this evidence will allow you to seek punitive action against the debt collector.

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Re: How to stop debt collection calls

Post by anyoldname on Sat Feb 26, 2011 1:07 pm

Thanks Mr. Golf.

Don't know if it would help others, but I've used sample (free) letters from the following to deal with Collection Agencies and Credit Bureaus:

http://www.budhibbs.com/
http://www.creditinfocenter.com/forms/

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Re: How to stop debt collection calls

Post by mrgolf on Sat Feb 26, 2011 1:33 pm

anyoldname wrote:Thanks Mr. Golf.

Don't know if it would help others, but I've used sample (free) letters from the following to deal with Collection Agencies and Credit Bureaus:

http://www.budhibbs.com/
http://www.creditinfocenter.com/forms/
Thank you. Hope we can get some more contributions
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Re: How to stop debt collection calls

Post by Guest on Sat Feb 26, 2011 1:56 pm

I found this :

Debt Collection Practices-
When Hardball Tactics Go Too Far

http://www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs27-debtcoll.htm

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Re: How to stop debt collection calls

Post by LRS on Sat Feb 26, 2011 5:20 pm

I would also like to contribute to this topic, based on my own personal experience. Note that where I use the term "creditor" I mean original creditor. Where I use the term "collector", I mean collection agency or collection agency representative.

After one very nasty experience with a collection agency rep several years ago, I decided that I would NEVER talk with a collector on the phone, and would instead communicate ONLY in writing, and only in response to a collection letter. I do not take kindly to being called a "loser", or being told that I "need to learn how to pay my bills, like everyone else". Interestingly, they never say those things when they have to leave a message. Usually, they just hang up.

When I receive a letter from a collection agency, I do not ignore it. I read it very carefully. Then put it aside, until I have time to sit down and deal with it. I respond to all collection letters, IN WRITING within the time specified in the letter (even if they say to call them). I usually write a very brief response on the front of the letter they send to me. I also ask them not to contact me again by phone or mail, I sign and date it, make a copy of the letter for my records, and return the original to them, certified mail with an electronic return receipt (which I staple to my copy of the letter). I have found this method of responding to be fast, easy, work very well, and keeps the amount of paper I have to keep on file as minimal as possible.

If it is the amount of the debt owed that I disagree with, I simply say that I dispute the amount of the debt. If I do not recognize the name of the creditor, or the debt as being mine, I simply dispute that the debt belongs to me and/or I say that I do not recognize the creditor as a company I have done business with. Debts get sold over and over, so when I get a letter from a different collector, I respond to their letter in the same manner.

The most work I've ever had to do in dealing with a collector was to ask for validation of a debt from a collector that sent a letter to me, claiming that I sent them a letter requesting that they send me documents regarding a debt that I disputed. That particular letter was interesting, because a). I had never even heard of the collection agency, b). I had never been contacted previously by anyone representing this agency, and c). I had never contacted them requesting anything. Included with their letter was one page of some document, showing a credit card account I used to have. To make a long story short, I got this letter and the document about one week before the statute of limitations was to expire on the debt. When I sent my request for validation of the debt and specific information, including a copy of the "request" that they claimed I sent to them for documents, they sent me copies of the last page of every statement for the last 12 months I used the card (but none of the other info I asked for). Fortunately for me, the last statement had the date of the last payment I made, which was 4 years prior (Statute of Limitations on debt in California is 4 years)!

The bottom line is this - deal with debt like any other business issue, because it's business. it took me a long time to really get that, because I always looked at debt as a moral issue. Know your rights, know your options, and check your credit reports to make sure they are accurate. Understand when paying a debt makes sense, and when it does not make sense. Understand when paying a debt will help you, and when it will make no impact at all, and maybe even hurt you! Don't let debt collectors bully and intimidate you into paying debt that is past the Statute of Limitations, or paying debt that is not your debt to begin with. Understand just how unscrupulous many collection agencies are. I am a true believer that knowledge IS power, and I have found that it also prevents unnecessary stress and anxiety.

Stuff happens to everybody from time to time. Not being able to pay bills happens to a lot of people, for a lot of different reasons. Lord knows, it's happened to me for the third time in the past 10 years!

I posted some links I thought might be helpful on the old U-F site, and Quiethawk reposted them here, under the topic of Useful Links for Debt & Collections in the Bankruptcy and Foreclosure category.
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Re: How to stop debt collection calls

Post by mrgolf on Sat Feb 26, 2011 7:14 pm

Thanks LRS
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Re: How to stop debt collection calls

Post by Sovereign on Sat Feb 26, 2011 8:44 pm

The tail end of my last conversation with a collector:

Him: So this is a refusal to pay? You're refusing to pay?
Me: No, listen. If I was able to pay but unwilling, that would be a refusal. This is an inability to pay. I don't have the money.
Him: So you're refusing to pay.
Me: No, I'm not able to pay. Big difference.
Him: I'm putting you down as refusing to pay.
Me: Good luck with English class.
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Re: How to stop debt collection calls

Post by LRS on Sat Feb 26, 2011 10:28 pm

mrgolf wrote:Thanks LRS

You're welcome, mrgolf!

And, Sovereign, that is why I say to NEVER talk to debt collectors, and deal with them ONLY in writing!
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