Three Ways To Stop Debt Collectors From Calling You
The reason is that debt collectors call so much that they take away your phone as a practical matter.
You come to dread the ringing of the phone.
You dread the flashing light of the voicemail indicator.
Many consumers have changed their phone number just to gain some peace and to be able to enjoy their phone again.
But short of changing your phone number – what can you do?
Really there are three choices:
- Pay the collector;
- Send a cease and desist letter; or
- Sue the collector for breaking the law.
Let’s look at each of these options and examine the good and the bad of each choice.
Pay The Collector
If you owe the money and the debt collector is a legitimate collector, then this is the best option.
We believe consumers should pay their debts if possible.
The advantages? Well, you get rid of the debt. If there is no debt, then there will be no calls.
(We do see collectors try to collect debt that has already been paid off – the response here is to warn them or sue them for doing this dirty trick).
None if you really owe the debt and you are dealing with an honorable debt collector.
Send A Cease And Desist Letter
If you do not owe the money, then sending a cease and desist letter can be effective unless you are dealing with a dishonorable debt collector.
First, what is a “cease and desist” letter?
It’s a letter that tells the debt collector to stop all contact with you.
“Please immediately cease all contact with me on any account you claim to have on me.”
Send it certified, return receipt requested.
Basically, the collector can tell you one last time in writing what it will do to you but no more calls.
If a collector continues to call after you send the cease and desist letter, then the collector has violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
But if you are dealing with a dishonorable debt collector that insists on abusing you (illegal calls, threats, etc – see our FAQ on debt collection harassment) then sending a piece of paper will likely not have any impact on the abusive debt collector.
If they are breaking the law, then what would make them obey a simple letter?
Simply put, abusive debt collectors should be sued to get them to straighten up their act and to start acting in an honorable fashion.
The disadvantage of sending a cease and desist letter, even to a law abiding collector, is that the collector may decide to sue you or simply transfer the account to a new collector and then the calls begin all over again.
This may sound like a vicious cycle – send a cease and desist and then get a new collector so you send a new cease and desist and get a new collector, etc.
It sounds like a vicious cycle because it often is one. Kind of like the “whack a mole” at Chucky Cheese except there is no laughing….
Sue The Collector For Breaking The Law
If you are dealing with a collector that refuses to leave the “Mini-Miranda” or makes third party disclosures (calling neighbors, family, co-workers, etc) or makes illegal threats against you, then you know you are dealing with a dis-honorable debt collector.
Why would you trust them to properly take your money and credit your account, if you know you are dealing with a less than honorable collector?
If you know you are talking with an abusive collector, then why continue to put up with their abuse?
In this situation, it often makes sense to look into filing suit against the abusive debt collector.
Sue the abusive debt collector in federal court for money damages.
The advantage of suing is you can stop the abuse and recover damages that you are entitled to receive.
And it makes the debt collector never want to think about you again….
The disadvantage is going into a lawsuit is a serious matter and you need to be committed to seeing it through all the way to trial.
Talk to a consumer rights attorney who has experience suing and trying cases against debt collectors to determine what your rights are and if it makes sense for you to sue the abusive debt collector rather than paying it or sending a cease and desist letter.
If you live in Alabama, give us a call at 205-879-2447 or contact us through our website contact form.
We’ll be glad to help you as we represent consumers all over the state of Alabama.