Guest Post by Josh Richner – If you’ve ever fallen behind on debt, you’ve experienced a special breed of phone calls. We are, of course, referring to debt collection calls. After receiving a few of them, you might be wondering how to stop debt collectors from calling you.
Debt Collectors Can Be Brutal
Suppose you’ve found yourself on the receiving end of debt collection phone calls.
In that case, you probably already know they can be relentless in their pursuit of repayment.
You might think that they’ll get the message that you want nothing to do with them, but they don’t go away quickly.
If you’re struggling with debt collection calls, we’ve got three different approaches that you can take to stop debt collectors in their tracks.
3 Ways To Stop Debt Collectors In Their Tracks
1. Refer Them to Your Attorney
We’re going to start with this one because it is the most effective in stopping the calls and resolving the debt.
Suppose you cannot pay your debt in full but want to avoid bankruptcy. In that case, you can consider retaining a debt settlement attorney.
The attorney can save you money by negotiating your debt for less than the full amount owed. Or, they may pursue other legal methods to resolve your debt.
A knowledgeable debt relief attorney will also identify and minimize the risks of being behind on your payments.
Here’s the thing, if you legitimately have an attorney, once you refer a debt collector to your attorney, a debt collector cannot call you any longer. Instead, they must contact your attorney to discuss the account.
2. Inform Them You’re on the Do-Not-Call List
This one comes with a bit of irony, but it can effectively stop debt collectors from calling.
Most telephone solicitors are legally required to honor the federal Do-Not-Call list. Your number should be removed from the direct marketing databases that provide information to telemarketers if you’re on this list.
Is a debt collector a telemarketer? It’s gray.
Blocking Debt Collectors With TCPA
But, another law works in conjunction with this one, which is the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Among the several regulations imposed under the TCPA, calls made to consumers using autodialers are limited.
How are they limited? By you, the consumer.
Suppose you are on the Do-Not-Call list, and you inform a debt collector using an automated system that you do not authorize calls to your cell phone from their organization. In that case, future calls may violate the TCPA.
In fact, the TCPA can stand alone in this, but being on the Do-Not-Call list is helpful both to your argument with the caller and simply because it helps reduce calls.
Receiving Calls After Being On The Do-Not-Call List
If a collector continues to call after informing them that you don’t authorize their calls, they may be in violation of the TCPA. The continued calls may allow you to pursue them for damages (payment) for each call made after the notification.
While this effort should stop the bill collector in their tracks, if it does not, it could result in them paying you instead of the other way around.
Understand that while this will be an effective strategy for dealing with debt collection calls, it does not do anything to resolve the debt.
3. Request Validation of the Debt
If your debt is in collections, you’ve probably gotten letters from debt collectors at some point.
When a collection agency first notifies you that they are handling the debt, they are required to provide you an opportunity to dispute the validity of the debt.
A validation request is your chance to tell them that you do not believe the debt is correct. Maybe it was never your account in the first place, or the amount they say you owe is incorrect.
Whatever the reason, you are asking them for proof that the debt is valid and that they can lawfully collect on it. They cannot continue to collect on the debt until they have provided the proof you’ve requested.
If they continue to attempt collection of the debt without providing this, they may be violating the FDCPA, and you may be able to take action against them.
It’s important to note that even if you dispute the debt, you may still owe it. It may be helpful to have an attorney review their response to understand whether or not you should plan to pay the debt off.
Also, if they do provide adequate proof of the debt, they can resume their collection activities. Validation is a shorter-term solution unless they cannot provide the appropriate validation.
Debt collectors can be incredibly frustrating, especially when you are already doing your best to resolve your debts.
If you find yourself facing this type of issue, understand that the phone calls are a symptom of the problem. The problem isn’t necessarily the debt collection calls.
The real issue at hand is the debt itself. While we want to provide you with strategies to stop debt collectors in their tracks, we also want you to better your overall financial situation.
- Create a plan of action to deal with your debts with a financial coach
- Connect with a certified credit counselor to explore a debt management plan
- Seek help from an attorney who is familiar with laws regarding debt and debt collection
- Take action to better your situation and gain control of your financial future