Don’t you hate when you get that call from collection agencies? You know the one – where they contact you and they pretend to be a friend and ask, “is Mary in?” Then, once they have you on the phone, if they’re honest, they say, “this call is an attempt to collect a debt. Any information obtained during this call will be used for that purpose.”
If you are behind in paying your bills, no matter who you owe money to, you’re likely to get phone calls like that. However, just because you get such phone calls doesn’t mean that you have to take it. There are ways to stop the harassment once and for all.
Don’t Just Ignore Them
The first thing you need to do is to stand firm when these collection agencies call and not simply ignore them. It may seem easier at first to just ignore them and pretend that no one by that name is home or to screen your calls, however, ultimately, they will keep calling and the best thing to do is to engage with them.
The First Step to Get Them to Stop Calling
The next time these places call you, ask for an address to mail a check to. Get the name of the person you are speaking with as well and make sure to ask for the exact name of the collection agency. This is extremely important because oftentimes, your account may have been sold to someone else. So just because your credit card was originally with Chase Bank doesn’t mean that it’s still there. You need to get the correct name of the company that is making the collection calls and the correct mailing address.
Don’t be confrontational and threaten to sue at this point. Just be polite, ask for the information and write everything down. Be sure to note as well the time and date of the phone call and the incoming number if it displays on caller ID.
Write a Cease and Desist Letter
Now, you need to write what is known as a “cease and desist” letter. This doesn’t have to be written by a lawyer and it doesn’t have to be notarized. The letter is very simple and straightforward. Here’s a sample that you can adapt to your own needs:
To whom it may concern:
I am writing to order you to cease and desist from calling me at home, at work or at the homes of my relatives or friends in regards to my debt in the amount of ____________ which was originally owned by ____________. I realize that I will still owe the amount in question and that legal action may be taken to recover the amounts owed. However, under the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, I am claiming my right not to be harassed for this debt. Failure to comply with this order will result in legal action being initiated against your company.
Send the Letter via Registered Mail
The above letter should be mailed to the collection agency or collection agencies who have been harassing you and it should be sent via registered mail. It’s important to do use registered mail and to document any contact with them because once they have received this letter, they are no longer entitled to call you. This way, you have legal proof of everything that happened and when it happened.
If they continue to call you anyway, you may contact an attorney and arrange to sue them for damages. The courts will support you fully in this endeavor. Lawsuits against collection agencies that fail to comply with the fair debt collection practices act have been successfully prosecuted.
Now before you start jumping for joy, you should be aware of an important caveat which we mentioned in the letter above: this letter will stop the collection agencies from calling you, however it will not change the fact that you owe them money. They can and often do initiate other legal action including filing a lawsuit against you. However, it will at least give you the peace of mind of knowing that the collection agencies can’t bother you anymore with annoying phone calls, which is a good start toward getting your life back together.