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How To Stop Debt Collector Phone Calls

Debt collectors don’t have to stop calling you just because you ask them to leave you alone. Here’s what you need to know.

If you owe money, you’re probably getting calls from debt collectors.

Though some debt collectors can be fairly pleasant people, the reality is that most of these phone calls don’t go well.

When you try to get the calls to stop, they keep coming.  Same debt collector, same debt.  Same demand to pay.

You get angrier, the situation escalates, and things soon spiral out of control.

Why won’t they stop calling, and what do you need to do to make the phone stop ringing?

Phone Calls Don’t Stop Based On Your Say-So

People who call me about debt collection harassment typically start off by telling me that the phone calls didn’t stop in spite of their best efforts.

I hate to burst your bubble, but in many cases the debt collector hasn’t done anything wrong by calling.  There are limits to time and place of phone calls, but a call in and of itself isn’t illegal.

True, it’s a waste of time to keep dialing your phone once you say you’re not going to pay.  But there’s no law against wasting time.

How To Stop Phone Calls From Debt Collectors

Under the law, a debt collector must cease communications with a consumer only when the consumer notifies a debt collector in writing that the consumer refuses to pay a debt or that the consumer wishes the debt collector to cease further communication with the consumer.

It’s also illegal for debt collectors to call you if they know or have reason to know that you’re represented by a lawyer.

Your voice means nothing, and won’t stop the calls.

If The Calls Continue …

… then you may have the ability to sue for a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act as well as under state laws.

When you sue a debt collector for violating your rights under the collection laws, you can collect money if you win. You can also collect legal fees and costs in connection with bringing the lawsuit.

The way I handle cases like that is by agreeing to be paid a portion of the financial recovery.

You get the calls to stop, plus some money for damages. I get paid a portion of the award for my legal fees.

Of course, we’d both rather just the calls stop. So write the letter, keep proof that you sent it along with a copy of the letter, and let’s hope the calls stop.

If not, you know where to find me.

Image credit:  coreycam/Flickr

By |July 8th, 2013|

About the Author:

I've been a consumer protection lawyer since 1995, working to help people end their bill problems. I'm a faculty member at the Student Loan Law Workshop, a nationally recognized speaker, and a long-time member of both the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys and National Association of Consumer Advocates.
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