How to Stop Collection Calls

Even if you’ve never had a debt go to collections, chances are you might be the lucky recipient of a collection call during your lifetime. That’s because phone numbers change, people move, numbers get transposed, and there’s probably more than one person out there with your name.

Of course, if you do legitimately owe a debt that has gone to collections, you’re almost certain to receive multiple calls about repaying the debt.

Either way, the calls can get annoying or exhausting, especially if you just can’t pay right now or aren’t the person they are looking for. I received some collection calls a few years ago due to an error, and they were not pleasant, to say the least.

But there are things you can do to stop them.

(Just keep in mind that stopping the calls won’t stop the collection process itself, or absolve you of the debt if you do owe it.)

Here’s what to do:

    1. If you’re receiving vague messages that you suspect might be from collections agency, call them back and talk to a real person. (If you are not the person they’re calling for, just stay on the line without pressing anything. Eventually this will connect you to a person in most cases.)

 

    1. Find out the name and address of the agency.

 

  1. Write them a letter telling them to stop contacting you, keep a copy of it, and send the original to them certified mail, return receipt requested, as advised on the FTC’s Debt Collection FAQs for consumers.

According to the FTC,

“Once the collector receives your letter, they may not contact you again, with two exceptions: a collector can contact you to tell you there will be no further contact or to let you know that they or the creditor intend to take a specific action, like filing a lawsuit. Sending such a letter to a debt collector you owe money to does not get rid of the debt, but it should stop the contact. The creditor or the debt collector still can sue you to collect the debt.”

If you’d like to know more about what debt collectors can and can’t do in the United States, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act contains detailed information.

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6 comments

  • Wow! This is a great resource. I’ve never received a call personally, but I’ve heard friend complain about getting a call for people looking for another person. That would get really annoying and this seems like a great solution. I’ll be sure to pass this blog post on in the future.

  • While I’ve never had debt problems myself, my brother did. And these D-bags used to call me relentlessly asking me about my brother. I’m sure their intent was to embarrass him into paying by calling family members, but what a crappy business process that is – harrassing unrelated innocents while trying to collect debts?

    I get it – if you owe the debt, it’s your fault you’re getting the calls, but it seems as though the industry needs some muzzling.

    • Yeah I think they can go pretty overboard. And sadly, many people aren’t aware of what is and isn’t legal, and what’s just a scare tactic.

  • We had this at my last job – my phone had (3 years ago!!) been the phone line for a girl with debt problems. The debt collectors called at least once a day looking for her.

    I also get a lot of calls on my cellphone – the way my phone number is, I end up getting a lot of wrong calls for some reason.

    Thanks for posting this information though – I didn’t know that there was an official process to get them to go away.