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Use This 11 Word Phrase to Stop Debt Collectors

Chloe Meltzer | July 13, 2023

Edited by Hannah Locklear

Summary: “Please cease and desist all calls and contact with me, immediately.” These are 11 words that can stop debt collectors in their tracks. If you're being sued by a debt collector, SoloSuit can help you respond and win in court.

How does the 11-word credit loophole actually work? The 11-word phrase has been making the rounds on the Internet as a way to get debt collectors off your back. However, you should be aware that this phrase may not be effective in all situations.

If you are being pursued for a debt, you might be scared and stressed out. Try not to let all of the debt collector's badgering calls 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 a debt collector is contacting you

If a debt collector contacts you, then not responding is an option, but it is not a good option. Ignoring calls is one thing, but ignoring a Summons is a bad idea. You should find out if you actually owe the debt and if the statute of limitations is still active. The one thing you must never do is confirm the debt is yours. This can be used against you in court.

However, it is a good idea to force debt collectors to validate the debt before it gets taken to court by sending a Debt Validation Letter. This document forces the debt collectors to verify the information they have about the debt. Many collectors give up after receiving a debt validation request.

What is the 11-word phrase credit loophole?

You can say a number of things to stop debt collectors from phoning you. You have the right to instruct a debt collector to stop calling, even if the debt they are contacting you about is yours. Your goal is to get the collector to stop calling and contact you via written communication.

Remember, these are the 11 magic words to stop debt collectors: ”Please cease and desist all calls and contact with me, immediately.”

What the law says about debt collector calls

Due to the long history of abuse by debt collectors, the U.S. government created the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) to protect your rights as a consumer. This rule explains what is allowed and not allowed in debt collection practices and calls from debt collectors.

According to the FDCPA, debt collectors cannot:

  • Call before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
  • Use vulgar or obscene language to intimidate you.
  • Threaten to take legal action that they cannot or do not plan to take.
  • Pretend to be a police officer or judge.
  • Discuss your debt with anyone other than you, your spouse, or your attorney.
  • Call you at your workplace when they know your employer prohibits such communications.
  • Tell you that you will be arrested if you do not pay off your debt.
  • Sue you for a debt that is past the statute of limitations.

If a debt collector uses any of these tactics against you, and then files a lawsuit, you may be eligible for compensation. You can consider filing a counterclaim where you explain that the debt collector violated your rights under the FDCPA. You may also consider reporting the behaviors to the FTC or the CFPB.

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Outsmart debt collectors

When a debt collector contacts you, there are certain steps you can take to protect yourself and outsmart them. Most consumers don't know how to communicate with debt collectors without making the situation worse, and debt collectors know this. They are counting on you to be ignorant of ways to protect yourself from their schemes.

You can outsmart debt collectors by following these tips:

  • Keep a record of all communication with debt collectors.
  • Send a Debt Validation Letter and force them to verify your debt.
  • Write a cease and desist letter.
  • Explain the debt is not legitimate.
  • Review your credit reports.
  • Explain that you cannot afford to pay.
  • See if they have your updated address.

Now, let's take a moment to break down each of these tips in detail.

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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 they contacted you. 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 used as evidence in a countersuit.

Send a Debt Validation Letter and force them to verify your debt

If you suspect that the debt is not yours, or that is past the statute of limitations, try sending a Debt Validation Letter within 30 days of the initial contact with a debt collector. This letter forces debt collectors to verify that the debt they are trying to collect is valid and that they have the right to do so.

Many debt collectors purchase old debts from original creditors, like credit card companies or banks. They purchase these debt accounts for a fraction of the original debt amount. During the transfer of the account, it is common for the collector to lose the proper documentation and proof needed to validate a debt.

So, when you send a Debt Validation Letter, most debt collectors give up.

Write a cease and desist letter

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 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. If this happens, the only time they may contact you is to serve you with a lawsuit.

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Explain the debt is not legitimate

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, the collector may voluntarily stop collection on the debt. Otherwise, you will need to present this information in court if the debt collector files a lawsuit against you.

Review your credit reports

You can get a free copy of your credit report from one of the three major credit reporting bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) once per year. Check the reports carefully to see if you have any accounts that you are unaware of. If you find inaccurate information on your credit report, you can dispute the errors with the credit reporting bureaus.

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 clock on 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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See if the debt collector has 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 they have your current address because 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 gives debt collectors the right to garnish your wages and even money taken from your bank account.

What to remember when talking to a debt collector

The 11-word phrase will prevent debt collectors from getting in touch with you by any means other than mail, but your debt will still be unpaid. As a result, you need a long-term approach to deal with the debt. Learn about the possibilities that are open to you. Then seek advice on which one is best based on your circumstances.

Let's take a look at an example.

Example: Walker has $1,550 outstanding on the credit card that he hasn't paid in six months, and when debt collectors start contacting him about it, he used the 11-word phrase to stop their incessant calls: “Please cease and desist all calls and contact with me, immediately.” Unfortunately, Walker was served with a Summons and Complaint after a few weeks. He used SoloSuit to draft and file an Answer to the lawsuit, and he negotiated with the debt collectors by sending an offer with SoloSettle to lower his interest rate and pay off his credit card debt within a set time frame. Walker is now making minimum monthly payments to the collectors and working hard to pay his debt off. The best part is the debt collectors were willing to settle for 50% of the original amount, so Walker only had to pay off $755.

There are a few things you need to remember when a debt collector calls you. First, do not 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 clock on 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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