Stop collection agency harassment
There is a simple way to stop collection agency harassment and calls. Under federal collection agency laws, you can send a cease and desist letter to the collection agency requesting them to stop calling or contacting you. The collection agency is required to honor your request under the FDCPA. Taking this step will stop collection agency harassment and calls. If the collector does not abide by the written request, you would be in a position to sue them.
What will the collection agency do after they stop harassment?
After the collection agency ceases contact with you in response to your letter, they are still entitled to pursue collecting the debt. They are also allowed to contact you to advise you that they are in receipt of the letter and to advise you of any further action they will take. If the amount owed is very small then the collection agency may decide to simply drop the matter. They would then contact the original creditor with their decision; at which point the original creditor may retain the services of another collection agency to collect the debt. In this case, you would have to send another cease and desist letter to the new collection agency. Also, if the original collector had actually bought the debt from the original creditor, they may decide to resell the debt to another collection agency with the same result.
If the unpaid debt is large, then the collection agency will probably proceed with suing you. In this case, you would receive a summons advising you that you are being sued and when to appear in court. At this point you should hire an attorney and not attempt to defend yourself. An attorney specialized in consumer law is the best option. If you are being sued, then it may be possible for you to also sue the collection agency or threaten to sue them if they have at any point violated their obligations under the FDCPA. Your attorney can advise you if you have a case against them. Always make sure to correspond with the collection agency in writing only so you can keep proper records. Also try to keep a written log of every event that occurs from the onset of communication with the collector. If the collector has severely violated the law, your attorney may still be able to stop all proceedings against you even at this stage.
When not to use this letter to stop collection agency harassment
An important point to remember when you stop collection agency harassment in this way is that you have left no choice for the collector except for legal action. The collection agency is in business to make money and if they cannot contact you, they will weight their options to determine if suing you is worthwhile. This is generally relevant when the outstanding balance is significant. They would also likely blemish your credit record. Keeping all this in mind, you should not attempt to stop collection agency harassment via such a letter if you do intend on eventually paying the debt. It would be more beneficial to try and negotiate a payment plan with the agency then risk escalation.
When can the law not stop collection agency harassment?
If the collection harassment and calls are coming to you from an internal department of the original creditor, then the FDCPA does not apply to them. In this case, the cease and desist letter does to hold legal stature to stop collection agency harassment. However, in many cases, even these internal collection agencies will stop or significant reduce their calls and harassment after being sent the letter.
Cease and Desist letter templates
There are many templates of the cease and desist letter that can be used when building your letter. You can contact the Federal Trade Commission to obtain a sample letter or contact the relevant department in your state government. Many attorneys would also have suggestions on how the letter should be written and they are a good source of information. The bottom line is that you can stop collection agency harassment and take control of the situation.
Collection agency laws
Know your rights when it comes to dealing with a collection agency. In the US the relevant national law is FDCPA. Information also provided for Canadian and UK collection agency laws.
Dealing with collection agencies
Tips on dealing with collection agencies, your rights under the FDCPA.
Report collection agency
Address for where to report collection agency for harassment or illegal activities.
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