How Do I Get a Debt Collector to Stop Calling Me?

Do you jump every time the phone rings because you think it might be a debt collector calling yet again? Have you been embarassed at work because a debt collector keeps phoning you?  Are you afraid your boss might fire you because the debt collector keeps calling? If so, then there might be a simple way to get some peace of mind and relax a bit whenever the phone rings.

There is a federal law regulating the practices of debt collectors and attorneys called the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act or FDCPA. Among its many provisions is one requiring that debt collectors and attorneys stop phoning the debtor if he or she asks them to stop.  In particular, if you tell a debt collector or collection attorney that your boss forbids such calls at work and will fire you if you continue to receive them, they definitely must stop.  Tell the debt collector that you want him to communicate with you only in writing.

It is important to note that the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act applies to debt collection agencies and attorneys and not to the original creditors, such as a bank or credit card company.  There are state laws that regulate original creditors and many of these laws closely mimic the provisions of the FDCPA and also bar creditors from calling after a debtor has asked them to stop.  There is a very good chance if you ask a creditor to stop phoning you at home or work, she will do it.  This is particularly true of the major credit card companies. 

Asking a debt collector to stop phoning you doesn't mean that he will.  Debt collection agencies who operate respectable businesses will stop calling you; however, dishonest debt collection agencies might not stop, and there are lots of dishonest debt collection agencies out there.  Some debt collectors might tell you that they don't have to stop calling you.  If they do threaten to keep phoning you at home and work after you've asked them to stop, then you need to tell them the following:  "The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act requires that you stop phoning me when I request you to stop and if you call me again I'm going to record the conversation and send it to the Attorney General's office (in your state) along with an official complaint.  I'm also going to file a complaint online at the Federal Trade Commission website."  

If they still continue to call you, then you might want to record all conversations with debt collectors so that you have proof in case you want to file a complaint with both state and federal agencies and perhaps sue them sometime in the future, provided that your state law allows you to record conversations without getting the other person's consent.

This website offers a debt settlement section which includes sample letters to help you negotiate your debt and deal with debt collectors.

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