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Are debt collectors driving you crazy? Getting call after call can be emotionally distressing and mentally exhausting.
Did you know you don’t have to put up with it? You have rights. Here are some ways to get debt collectors off your back.
Tell them to stop contacting you.
Scrupulous debt collectors who are trying to obey the law will often add a “Do not contact” note to your file if you make a verbal request. This means you only have to talk to them once before shutting down that line of communication.
Note that they do this for each phone number, not for you specifically. If they discover another phone number where they can reach you they’ll try it, and you’ll have to tell them to stop using that one too.
Write a certified letter.
Some collection agencies will ignore you when you try to tell them to stop calling. They’ll pretend to make a note, and then you’ll get another call from the same agency spoofing a different number.
When that happens you need to send a letter. Fortunately letters are the most reliable way to get creditors to stop contacting you.
You can’t stop them from sending mail, so you can instruct them to contact you via the US Postal Service only. Tell them to stop contacting you via phone, email, text, or other mediums.
Make sure you send it return receipt requested. Include your account number. Mention that you’re writing the letter pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Be sure to keep a copy. If the debt collector attempts to contact you again they may be subject to some steep civil penalties.
Keep in mind sometimes the agency will just sell that debt to someone else. If they do, you’ll have to go through the entire process again with the new collector.
The only problem with simply telling a collector to stop contacting you is it doesn’t prevent them from taking the actions that can really create problems for your life. In fact, in some cases it may be a good way to push them into taking the the big one: suing you for the debt.
If they succeed they may be able to garnish your wages or take other assets that you own.
There’s only one way to stop this action: to declare bankruptcy. Once you do, you’ll be protected by the automatic stay. This is a court action that prevents creditors from taking collection actions while the bankruptcy is in progress. After the bankruptcy is done there’s a good chance the debt should be discharged, so wouldn’t just protect yourself from lawsuits. You’d make sure the debt collector really couldn’t contact you anymore, too.
If you’re being harassed by debt collectors, take a stand. Contact our office to schedule a free consultation. We’ll be glad to help you live a life free from debt collector interference.
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