Getting Collection Calls to Stop
There are a lot of ways to stop collectors from contacting you. Of course, the most permanent way to do that is to file for bankruptcy. Between the automatic stay, which will stop collection activities as soon as your bankruptcy case is filed, and your discharge or the start of your Chapter 13 plan, your debt collection calls will certainly stop.
Temporary Relief From Collection Calls
But there is another way that you can get some collection calls to stop, although it is just a temporary-band-aid. You can request that all communications between you and a debt collector stop. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) allows a consumer to request that contact with debt collectors stop, and after being notified, any contact by a debt collector is a violation of the FDCPA.
The catch is that the request must be in writing (or email, if the collector allows such communication). You should try to avoid contacting debt collectors through their websites, such as in “contact us” boxes.
Additionally, if your debt is transferred from one collection agency to another, you’ll have to write another letter to the next debt collector. Additionally, many collection agencies have specific addresses where they request that they be sent mail.
There is no magic legal language that has to be in the letter, but it does have to clearly say that you no longer want to be contacted. Just saying “I can’t pay” or something similar will not suffice. The letter doesn’t have to be sent certified, but that does sometimes help if there is a dispute over whether it was ever received or not.
As you can see, this can be a laborious process that you’ll have to keep up with, which is why it isn’t a replacement for a bankruptcy, which is a permanent solution to your debt collection problems.
Oral Notice of Inconvenient Times
As confusing as it sounds, the FDCPA also allows some oral notice when it comes to stopping collection calls. You can tell a debt collector not to contact you at certain times because the time the collector is calling is inconvenient for you. For example, if you were a doctor in an ER, unable to take calls during the day, or a teacher who cannot take calls during class, you can verbally inform the debt collector not to call you between specified hours. The law does not allow the debt collector to evaluate whether your reason is actually inconvenient.
Although easier because it does not have to be written, the problem with this approach is that it is verbal, and as such, there can be a “he said-she said” problem.
These are just temporary fixes. If the debt collection calls and letters are getting overwhelming, the real fix is a bankruptcy. Call the West Palm Beach bankruptcy lawyers at Kelley, Fulton & Kaplan at 561-264-6850 with any questions that you may have about your bankruptcy.