What may happen if I ignore or avoid a debt collector?

Ignoring or avoiding a debt collector is unlikely to make the debt collector stop contacting you. If you believe you do not owe the debt, you should tell the debt collector. If the debt is yours and you can’t afford to pay it, you may be able to make arrangements with the debt collector. You can also ask the debt collector in writing to stop contacting you, which will stop the communications.

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, stop or limit any further communication, or protect some of your rights.

You might also consider consulting a credit counselor. Credit counselors are organizations that can advise you on managing your money and debts, help you develop a budget, and usually offer free educational materials and workshops. Credit counselors are usually non-profit organizations. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling provides a list of member agencies around the country.

Ignoring or avoiding the debt collector may cause the debt collector to use other methods to try to collect the debt, including a lawsuit against you. If you are unable to come to an agreement with a debt collector, you may want to contact an attorney who can provide you with legal advice about your situation. Your local legal aid office may have information for you in their office or on their website. You also may qualify for free legal services through legal aid or legal clinics, depending on your income and where you live.


Was this page helpful to you?

Note: Do not include sensitive information like your name, contact information, account number, or social security number in this field.

The content on this page provides general consumer information. It is not legal advice or regulatory guidance. The CFPB updates this information periodically. This information may include links or references to third-party resources or content. We do not endorse the third-party or guarantee the accuracy of this third-party information. There may be other resources that also serve your needs.

Read full answer Hide full answer