Rule # 1: Tell them to stop calling you, and put it in writing. This is often called a “cease and desist” letter. We recommend that you send them a letter using either delivery confirmation or certified mail, return receipt requested. That way, you have proof that you sent them your letter telling them to stop calling.
If you tell a debt collector in writing that you want them to stop communicating with you about a debt, or that you refuse to pay the debt, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) generally requires them to stop communicating with you regarding that debt. The only permissible communications after that is to notify you that they are stopping further efforts to collect the debt or to notify you that they will take certain specific actions in response to your letter. They also cannot communicate with your spouse or parents (if you are a minor), or with your guardian, executor or administrator.
Rule # 2: If the debt collector fails or refuses to stop, gather the evidence and have it reviewed by an experienced FDCPA lawyer. Keep a pencil and paper by your phone. When the debt collector calls, write down the date and time of their call. Write down their names and the companies they work for. Write down who they spoke with in your house, and what they said. If you have caller ID on your phone, write down their phone number and date/time of their call; if you can, take a picture of the caller ID display. If you receive anything in writing from the debt collector (letters, bills, past due notices, etc.), save them all.
Remember, the FDCPA has a statute of limitations; if you don’t file your FDCPA lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires, you generally lose your right to bring that lawsuit at all. So, you must act promptly if you think you may have a case against a debt collector. Please feel free to contact us for a free consultation, and we will be happy to explain your legal rights.