How can I get debt collectors to stop calling me?

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In a Nutshell

If you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you can tell bill collectors that your filed, and they must stop calling you under the law.

Written by Kristin Turner, Harvard Law Grad.  
Updated July 22, 2020


If you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you can tell bill collectors that your filed, and they must stop calling you under the law.

If you don’t file for bankruptcy, there are a lot of laws out there to protect you from debt collectors who call and harass you. If you don’t own a house, apartment, land, car, or anything else that costs a lot of money (over $20,000), you should say the following to the debt collector: “I’m judgment proof and I don’t have anything for you to collect. You must stop calling me.” If the debt collectors keep calling you, you should do the following.

First, you should ask the debt collector to send you a “verification letter,” confirming how much debt you owe and what the debt is for. If the debt collector does not send you a verification letter, it is illegal for them to keep contacting you. Ask them for their address over the phone, so you can send the letter.

Here is a sample “verification letter” you can send your debt collector:

Date

Your Address

Your City, State Zip Code

Debt Collector’s Name

Debt Collector’s Address

Debt Collector’s City, State Zip

Re: Account Number

I am requesting that you verify this debt, which includes giving me information about the name and address of the original creditor.

If you do not follow my request, I will file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and the (your state here) Attorney General’s office. I will also pursue civil and criminal action.

Best,

Your Name Here

Second, if the debt collector sends you back a verification letter to confirm the debt you owe, you should send a “cease and desist letter.” We give you a template to do this below. If you do this, it will make it illegal for the debt collector to keep calling you.

Here is a sample “cease and desist letter” you can send to your debt collector:

Date

Your Address

Your City, State Zip Code

Debt Collector’s Name

Debt Collector’s Address

Debt Collector’s City, State Zip

Re: Account Number

I request that you cease and desist communication with me, my friends, and my family, in relation to all the debts you claim that I owe. I make this request under federal debt collection laws.

If you do not follow my request, I will file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and the (your state here) Attorney General’s office. I will also pursue civil and criminal action.

Best,

Your Name Here



About the author
Kristin Turner, Harvard Law Grad

Kristin is a recipient of Harvard Law School’s Public Welfare Foundation A2J Tech Fellowship. At Harvard Law, she served as a member of the Harvard Defenders, the Women’s Law Association, and Harvard Law Negotiation Review. She was the 2016 – 2017 president of the Black Law Stude... read more

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