Carrying a lot of debt can be stressful, so the last thing you need on top of that is having to field intrusive calls from aggressive debt collectors. If you’ve experienced this, you’re not alone: one in three Americans has debt in collections.
Whether you’re getting debt collection calls because you can’t pay back what you owe, or because you’re in a debt settlement program and you’re letting your bills go past due strategically, debt collection calls could push you to your limit. Here’s how to get debt collection calls to stop.
How to Stop Debt Collection Calls
The most obvious way to stop debt collection calls is to pay what you owe—if you’re able to. But not everyone can do this. If you’ve been having a difficult time keeping up with payments, you may have accrued late fees and other penalties that make it even harder to get caught up and out of debt.
Getting current on your monthly payments might stop debt collectors from calling you, but you have to make sure you’re keeping up with those payments. Otherwise, the debt collectors will start calling again. The best way to do that is by coming up with a credit card payoff strategy. Depending on how much you owe and how much you can afford to pay, there are different strategies that could work for you.
While you’re figuring out a strategy to get out of debt, you may still be getting debt collection calls. If you want these calls to stop for good, you have the right to request that your debt collector cease all communication with you. This request needs to be done in writing and is known as a “cease and desist” letter.
Cease and desist letters are an official request that notifies your debt collector that you want them to stop contacting you. You don’t need to go through a lawyer to write a cease and desist letter—you can do it on your own. All you have to do is get your debt collector’s name, address, and other information and send them a letter officially requesting them to stop contacting you.
In your letter, make sure to clearly state to the debt collector that you’re requesting them to cease and desist all contact with you, your family, and your friends in reference to any alleged debt you owe.
Also let your debt collector know that if they don’t comply with your request, you will file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and your state’s Attorney General’s office.
In your letter, make sure that you also include:
- The date
- Your name and address
- The name of the debt collection agency
- The account number of the debt you owe
It’s a good idea to keep a record that you sent a cease and desist letter to your creditor so that if they contact you again, you can prove that you asked them not to contact you.
But even if you’ve sent a cease and desist letter, you should know that debt collectors can still contact you to let you know they’re ending all communication with you or to inform you if they plan to file a lawsuit against you or try another legal way to collect the debt.
While sending a cease and desist will stop the debt collectors from contacting you, it doesn’t mean that your debt is forgiven. You’ll still owe the money and the debt will keep accruing the longer you put it off. You could wait for the debt to expire, but depending on your state laws, that could take more than ten years and, in the meantime, could damage your credit.
How to Stop Collection Calls at Work
Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), debt collectors are not allowed to call you at any time that’s inconvenient to you. So if a debt collector is calling you at work, you’re legally allowed to tell them to stop contacting you while you’re at your job. All you have to do is tell them that it is inconvenient for you to take their calls during work hours and that you could lose your job if they keep calling.
Make sure to note the date and time you requested they stop calling you at work. Then, write them a cease and desist letter with a formal request to stop contacting you at your place of employment. If they continue to call you at work, you can file a complaint with the FTC.
How to Stop Collection Calls to the Wrong Number
It’s quite common for people to find themselves on the end of a debt collector call because of a wrong number. There is now a group of debt collectors who buy outdated debts from the original creditors with a view to profiting from them. Typically, they’re using old information and calling a wrong number by mistake. Innocent or not, it’s understandable that you may feel harassed and victimized being called about a debt that’s not yours.
Here’s what to do if a debt collector is calling about someone else’s debt:
- Answer the phone and explain you’re not the person they’re looking for
- Tell them that the number they’re calling is not the right one
- Send a cease and desist letter to request that they stop contacting you
- If they continue to call, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission
As always, keep a record of when debt collectors call you, what you say to them, and when you sent your cease and desist letter.
How to Stop Debt Collection Calls If You’re Working with a Debt Settlement Company
One way to get out of debt faster and for less than you currently owe is by working with a debt settlement company like Freedom Debt Relief. These companies negotiate with your creditors with the goal of getting them to accept less than they’re owed on a debt.
In order for a debt settlement company to get the leverage they need to negotiate a debt reduction for you, you have to let your debt go past due. But when you do that, it’s likely that creditors and debt collectors will contact you in an effort to get paid in full.
If you’re getting debt collection calls because you’re working with a debt settlement company, know that these calls should stop as soon as your debt settlement company has reached an agreement with your creditor.
In the meantime, you may have to wait out these calls, ignore them, or simply answer them and tell your debt collector that you can’t pay them back right now. You can learn more about dealing with debt collector calls here.
Depending on the debt settlement company you’re working with, you may also be provided with advice on how to deal with these calls. At Freedom Debt Relief, we provide our clients with resources to guide them through debt collector calls.
While working with a debt settlement company, there’s no guarantee that your debt collectors will stop calling you. You may find you still have to field some calls until the entire debt is settled. But at least now you know your rights and can take steps to protect yourself, your job, and your sanity.
Armed with some practical and effective ways to reduce or stop debt collection calls, you’ll be able to reduce the accompanying worry and stress. It takes time and effort to clear heavy debt, but at least now you can focus on that goal without having to use valuable time and energy on figuring out how to stop debt collector calls.