How can you make a debt collector stop?

How can you make a debt collector cease communications under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act?

As usual, we start with the text of the statute.

15 USC §1692c(c) Ceasing communication

If a consumer notifies a debt collector in writing that the consumer refuses to pay a debt or that the consumer wishes the debt collector to cease further communication with the consumer, the debt collector shall not communicate further with the consumer with respect to such debt, except—

(1) to advise the consumer that the debt collector’s further efforts are being terminated;

(2) to notify the consumer that the debt collector or creditor may invoke specified remedies which are ordinarily invoked by such debt collector or creditor; or

(3) where applicable, to notify the consumer that the debt collector or creditor intends to invoke a specified remedy.

If such notice from the consumer is made by mail, notification shall be complete upon receipt.

This means that, under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, if you inform a debt collector that you wish for them to stop collecting from you, they are required to do so.  They are then prohibited, by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, from MOST other contact.  They can let you know that they are complying with your requests.  They can let you know that they may do certain things that are legal,  that are collection efforts- repossession, foreclosure, lawsuit.  And they can take those actions.

For most collectors, there is very little that they can do in response that complies with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, but one must be wary of collections agencies that are lawyers.  Once should be particularly aware of those firms that regularly sue in the local courts where you are located.  Those collectors, one should think carefully before deciding that you wish to tell them to cease collections efforts, as they may decide that they wish to sue to collect.

Because of this distinction, it is very important to contact a consumer protection lawyer, who is familiar with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, in your community before taking this kind of action.  If you are in Virginia, we are glad to assist you.  If you are not in Virginia, please visit the National Association of Consumer Advocates Find An Attorney webpage.

If you have been impacted by anything we mentioned here, you can make an appointment to see us.

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