Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jan 29, 2020

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Advice From an Attorney

How do you get a debt collector to stop contacting you? Steve Recordon, a San Diego attorney who represents individuals who have been harassed by debt buyers, offers the following advice:

Identify the Collector 

The person on the phone may not volunteer this information, so you’ll need to ask. Determine the person’s name and address, and send the caller a letter telling his or her firm to stop calling you at home and to validate the debt. Make these demands in writing, send them by registered mail, and request receipts in case you need to prove in court that your letters were received.

Record the Information

“Write down all the circumstances surrounding the contact,” says Recordon, “such as the time, what the debt collector said and what their responses were.”

Remain calm, realize that the debt collectors are violating the law, and understand that there are remedies for those violations. Finally, it may be a good idea to contact an attorney and find out what your legal options are. If you hire an attorney, he or she can take over the process and manage the debt collectors on your behalf. In any event, legal consultations are free, without obligation, and strictly confidential. It’s in your best interest to speak with an experienced debtor’s rights collection lawyer who understands the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).

The Harassment May Illegal

The collection firm will then have 30 days to validate the debt. To do this, the firm will need to provide the account number, the name of the original creditor, and the debt amount. If the firm continues making phone calls after the letter and debt validation, then they’ve violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).

Remain calm, realize that the debt collectors are violating the law, and understand that there are remedies for those violations. Finally, it may be a good idea to contact an attorney and find out what your legal options are. If you hire an attorney, he or she can take over the process and manage the debt collectors on your behalf. In any event, legal consultations are free, without obligation, and strictly confidential. It’s in your best interest to speak with an experienced lawyer who understands the FDCPA. 

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Advice From a Consumer Advocate

Bud Hibbs, a collection consumer advocate and consultant for over 25 years, warns debtors against becoming intimidated. You don’t have to jump when a debt collector calls, says Hibbs. Nor do you have to take his or her words at face value.

You Have Rights

Know your rights, and don’t react too quickly to a caller you can’t identify. At the same time, don’t ignore lawsuits. Many lawsuits that are filed against debtors end up in default judgment because the consumer never shows up.

“The biggest thing I hear from consumers,” says Hibbs, “is ‘I didn’t hire a lawyer because I don’t have any defense.’ Yes, you do. You have a defense based on who’s suing you. If it’s the original creditor, it’s one story. But if it’s a junk debt buyer or a bottom feeder, it’s a different story altogether.”