Know what to say to debt collectors to make them go away.
Summary: Is an old creditor or debt collector suing you for a past due balance? Not sure how to make them leave you alone? Find out with this 11 word phrase!
If you are being pursued for a debt then you might be scared and stressed out. Try not to let all of the calls badgering you from a debt collector get to you. If you need to take a break, you can use this 11 word phrase to stop debt collectors: “Please cease and desist all calls and contact with me, immediately.” Here is what you should do if you are being contacted by a debt collector.
If a debt collector contacts you, then not responding is an option, but it is not a good option. Ignoring calls are one thing, but ignoring a summons is a very bad idea. You should try to find out if you actually owe the debt, and if the statute of limitations is still active. The one thing you must never do as well, is to confirm the debt is yours. This can be used against you in court.
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Keep a record of all communication with debt collectors
Ensure that you keep a log of every single time you speak to a debt collector. Note who you spoke with, what they said to you, and what time. This will help you remember all important information, as well as how often they call you, and any inconsistencies in what they say to you. If you have any voicemails or messages with abusive language you need to keep them because these can be sussed as evidence in a countersuit.
Write a cease and desist
Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), if you ask for a debt collector to stop contacting you they must do so. There are only a few exemptions to this rule. It is good to note that your request must be in writing.
When you ask a collector to stop communicating with you it may then become easy for you to lose track of the debt. This is something that you must decide for yourself. Regardless, if you decide you want the collector to stop contacting you, you can simply ask for this to happen. In the event this does happen, the only time they may contact you is to serve you with a lawsuit.
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Explain the debt is not legitmate
If you feel that you should not pay the debt, or that you do not owe it, then you need to make your case. Tell the collector that this is uncollectable and present your information. If you have a valid reason then the collector may voluntarily stop collection on the debt. Otherwise you will need to present this in court.
Review your credit reports
You can get a free copy of your credit report, one time per year, from one of the three major credit reporting bureaus, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Check the reports and see if you have any accounts that you are unaware of.
Explain that you cannot afford to pay
If you cannot afford to pay your debt you can try to explain this to the debt collector. Although explaining that you can't pay does not mean they have to stop collections, it may push them to move on to another customer. This can also prevent your file from going to court.
Do not admit that the debt is yours or do anything that could restart the statute of limitations. Instead, ensure that you do not admit you are responsible, nor state that you will pay off the debt.
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Give the debt collector your current address
Although you might want to hide from a debt collector, you want to ensure that you get all correspondence. Rather than change your phone number, ask them to stop calling. Then ensure that they have your current address because then you will never miss a summons. If you miss a summons, this will lead to the possibility of having a default judgment placed against you. When a default judgment is placed against you it leads to the ability to have your wages garnished, and even money taken from your bank account.
What to remember when talking to a debt collector
There are a few things that you need to remember when a debt collector is calling you. The first is do not to give out your personal information such as bank account number or social security number. You should also not offer a small payment to “get them off their back.” this could restart the statute of limitations. Above all, never make promises or admit the debt is valid. Otherwise, you can always ask them to cease and desist.
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>>Read the FastCompany article: Debt Lawsuits Are Complicated: This Website Makes Them Simpler To Navigate
>>Read the NPR story on SoloSuit: A Student Solution To Give Utah Debtors A Fighting Chance
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