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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. 

The CFPB’s Debt Collection Rule clarifying certain provisions of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) became effective on November 30, 2021.

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. To get started, you can try the Financial Counseling Association of America, on their website  or by phone at (800) 450-1794, or the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, on their website or by phone at (800) 388-2227.

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.