If debt collectors are pursuing you, you have various options. Some of these options can be more effective than others, but before you decide which approach would work best, you need to research the different laws in your state and the rights available for a consumer.
This guide will help you silence debt collectors who may be harassing you.
- Understand the Statute of Limitations
Debt collectors’ right to sue you for debt is limited by the statute of limitations. It varies from state to state, and some states have different statutes of limitations for different types of debts.
Once a statute of limitations has expired, the creditor can’t sue you for a debt and must stop collection efforts. This doesn’t mean that you’re off the hook for paying off the debt. It just means that you can no longer be sued for payment.
If you have multiple debts, and only one is past its statute of limitations, creditors may still be able to collect on it if they can prove that it was newer than the others.
- Send a Cease and Desist Letter
A cease and desist letter is a written legal notice that informs the other party that their behavior is unacceptable, and if they don’t stop, legal action will be taken against them. For example, if someone is harassing you by making phone calls or writing letters on your creditor’s behalf, you should send them a cease and desist letter urging them to stop.
Bank account garnishment is one of the ways creditors can collect a debt from you. As an arm of the legal system, the bank is required by law to freeze and take money from your account to satisfy a creditor’s judgment. If you ignore a creditor or fail to follow court orders to pay, a creditor may ask the court for permission to take money directly from your account.
Moreover, a debt collector may ignore your cease and desist letter if they don’t think it will hold up in court or if they don’t think anyone will ever find out about their actions. However, if they continue contacting you after receiving the letter, then you can silence your debt collector for violating your rights under federal law.
- Request Debt Validation
A debt collector may try to collect a debt that doesn’t legally belong to you, but you don’t have to pay it. You can request debt validation from the collector and, if they can’t prove it’s yours, make them stop calling.
You might also be able to get out of paying the debt by disputing it with the credit reporting agencies.
It’s important to know that collectors may still call and send letters about debts they haven’t verified, even if you request validation. These are called “zombie debts,” old accounts that have been sold by one company to another or sold multiple times over the years.
- Debt Validation Request Letter
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) requires collectors to provide proof of their debt in writing within 30 days of your validation request. The letter must include:
- The amount owed
- The creditor’s name and address
- The original creditor’s name and address are different from the current creditor
Debt validation is often necessary to silence your debt collector, but a debt collector may not want to go down that road. This is because the collector must then show the court their records and evidence of the debt. In some cases, the debt collector may not have any evidence or proof of the debt, and if the judge finds this to be true, you don’t have to pay the debt.
- Pay Off the Debt
If you are unable to pay your debt collector, you may be forced to cooperate with them. If you have a huge debt that has been accruing for a long time, it might be in your best interest to settle it rather than pay it off.
Here are some tips on how to settle debt:
- Settle the Debt: If your debt is small and you can afford to pay it off, then do so as soon as possible. Go ahead and make the payment online or over the phone to avoid any more nuisance with the collection agency.
- Set up an Instalment Plan: If your outstanding balance isn’t too high, try setting up an installment plan with the collection agency. The creditor may be willing to offer a lower interest rate or even waive part of your payments if they know that this will help get rid of the debt quicker.
- Pay Off Your Credit Card First: Before making any extra payments on other debts, make sure that.
Debt collectors are required by law to stop contacting you if they haven’t heard from you in 30 days. While this doesn’t mean that collection agencies will stop phone calls or letters after 30 days, it does buy you some time to develop a plan of action.
Ultimately, collection agencies must follow the law. This includes laws directly related to debt collection and customer service laws meant to protect you from unfair and invasive practices. So don’t be afraid to silence debt collectors by informing them that what they’re doing is illegal or against the law—even if you’re dealing with a collection agent and not the actual company itself.