How can I stop debt collectors from contacting me?
You have the right to tell a debt collector to stop communicating with you. To stop communication, send a letter to the debt collector and keep a copy of the letter.
If you don't want a debt collector to contact you again, write a letter to the debt collector saying so.
The CFPB has prepared sample letters to help you get information, set limits or stop any further communication, or exercise some of your rights. For example, if you tell the collector that the debt is not yours, it is up to the debt collector to verify for you that you are responsible for the debt. This verification could be a copy of your statement showing the balance you owe, a copy of the original credit agreement, or other documents or information. If you have evidence that the debt isn’t yours, you might choose to send copies of that information with the letter.
You may only have 30 days after you’re contacted by a collector to ask for certain information. Even if more than 30 days pass, it’s still a good idea to ask for what you need. You can also ask for additional information, but the collector may not be obligated to provide that information to you.
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.
Don’t ignore debt collectors. Ignoring or avoiding a debt collector may not make the collector stop contacting you or stop trying to collect the debt. You should tell the debt collector if you believe you do not owe the debt, or that the debt is not yours, or that there is some other problem with the debt, such as an incorrect amount. Even if the debt is yours, you still have the right not to talk to the debt collector and you can tell the debt collector to stop contacting you.
Keep good records of your communications with a debt collector. It's a good idea to keep a file of all letters or documents a debt collector sends you. Keep copies of anything you send to a debt collector. 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.
Once a debt collector receives your letter, the debt collector may not contact you again except to:
- Tell you there will be no further contact
- Tell you that they or the creditor may take other actions they are legally allowed to take, such as filing a lawsuit against you
If the collector continues to call after receiving the letter, they may be violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). It is also against the law for a debt collector to use unfair, deceptive or abusive practices in an attempt to collect debt from you.
You can also sue the debt collector for 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.