One of the most common questions from consumers who are on the receiving end of phone calls from collection agencies is “How can I make the calls stop?” Here we will outline three options you have and discuss the pros and cons of each.
To stop Debt Collector agencies from contacting you, you can:
-Send a cease and desist letter
-Pay the collector
-Sue the collector for breaking the law
Sending a Cease and Desist Letter
If you don’t owe the money the collection agency says you do, then sending a cease and desist letter is effective unless you are dealing with a dishonest collector (anything short of a lawsuit won’t stop a dishonest debt collector). A cease and desist letter tells the debt collector to drop all contact with you in accordance with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The collector then may contact you one last time in writing but isn’t allowed to call you on the phone anymore. If you continue to receive calls after sending the letter, then the collector has violated the FDCPA and you have grounds for a lawsuit.
There are some disadvantages to sending a cease and desist letter, even if the collection agency is honest and law-abiding. First, the collection agency might turn around and sue you. They can also transfer your account over to a new collection agency and the calls will start all over again. It can be a vicious cycle.
Paying the Collector
If you have a legitimate debt and the collection agency isn’t doing anything to violate the FDCPA, then simply paying the debt is the best option. There are really only advantages to this option. First, you rid yourself of the debt, and then there won’t be constant phone calls from the collector. There have been cases of debt collectors trying to collect debts that have already been paid; if this happens to you, warn them to stop and then sue if it continues.
Suing the Collector for Breaking the Law
If you are being contacted by a debt collector who is using illegal collection practices such as harassing phone calls, calling at all hours of the day and night, contacting your neighbors or co-workers, or calling your cell phone without authorization. If a debt collector is knowingly committing all these violations, they are clearly dishonest, and why should you trust them to correctly handle your money and credit your account? You shouldn’t.
If you’re in this situation, a good option is to look into filing a lawsuit against the abusive collector. Suing offers the best chance that the harassment will stop and you can collect any damages you may be entitled to. The disadvantage is that a lawsuit is a very serious matter and shouldn’t be entered into if you’re not prepared to see it all the way through to trial.
If you have further questions about how to get a debt collector to stop contacting you, you should consult with an experienced consumer attorney. An attorney can advise you on what your best option is, whether it be paying the debt, sending a cease and desist letter or suing the debt collection agency.