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Debt collection

How can I stop debt collectors from contacting me?

You have the right to tell a debt collector, in writing, to stop communicating with you. Once a debt collector receives your letter, it may not contact you again except to:

  • Tell you there will be no further contact
  • Tell you that it or the creditor may take other specific actions it is legally allowed to take, such as filing a lawsuit against you

We have prepared sample letters that a consumer could use to respond to a debt collector who is trying to collect a debt along with tips on how to use them.  The sample letters may help you to get information, set ground rules about any further communication, or protect some of your rights.

However, telling a debt collector to stop contacting you does not stop the debt collector or creditor from using other legal ways to collect the debt from you if you owe it, including a lawsuit against you. The creditor or the debt collector also may make a negative report to a Consumer Reporting Agency, affecting your credit report and credit score. (In some cases, the debt may be too old to affect your credit report or credit score.)

If the collector continues to call after receiving the letter, it may be violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).

Tip: Keep proof that you sent your letter to the debt collector.

You should make a copy of your letter and send the original to the debt collector. It is generally a good idea to send the letter by certified mail. If you pay for a “return receipt,” you also will have proof the debt collector received your letter. You may also send the letter by fax, just be sure to keep a copy of the fax receipt.

Tip: Keep good records of your communications with a debt collector.

It is a good idea to keep a file of all letters or documents a debt collector sends you and copies of anything you send to a debt collector. Also, write down dates and times of conversations along with notes about what you discussed. These records can help you if you have a dispute with a debt collector, meet with a lawyer, or go to court.

Report any problems you have with a debt collector to the CFPB, the FTC, or your state's attorney general. You can also sue the debt collector violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). If you sue under the FDCPA and win, the debt collector must generally pay your attorney’s fees, and may also have to pay you damages.

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