4 Steps to Get Debt Collectors to Stop Contacting You
Authored By: Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA)
If you owe a debt in the State of Montana, this article will help you:
- Learn how to get third party debt collectors to stop contacting you,
- Send a cease contact letter, and
- Take legal action if debt collectors keep contacting you.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) says what third party debt collectors can and cannot do when trying to collect a debt. It includes rules about phone calls and letters. A third party debt collector is anyone that regularly collects debts for others. The law also gives people rights when dealing with debt collectors. This article will walk you through the steps to get debt collectors to stop contacting you. You will also learn what you can do if debt collectors keep contacting you after you tell them to stop. In the Take Action section on this page is a link to our free Cease Contact Letter that you can use. If you have any questions, it’s a good idea to talk to a lawyer.
What are the 4 steps to get a third party debt collector to stop contacting you?
- Make sure this is the right option for you.
- Download and fill out the cease contact letter on this website.
- Make a copy of the cease contact letter.
- Mail the filled out cease contact letter to the debt collector.
Step One: Make sure this is the right option for you
To make sure that sending a cease contact letter to a debt collector is a good choice for you, it is helpful to understand:
- Who a third party debt collector is
- What the cease contact letter does
- And, how sending the letter can help you.
A third party debt collector is a person or company that collects debts originally owed to a different person or company. A company or person collecting their own debts are not third party debt collectors. A company or person collecting their own debts are called “original creditors.” For example, if you own money to a hospital, the hospital is not a debt collector. But, if the hospital sells your debt to another company, the other company is a debt collector. There are different laws for original creditors. If you’d like to get an original creditor to stop contacting you, talk to a lawyer right away.
The cease contact letter does not stop a debt collector from suing you for the debt. The letter only tells the debt collector to stop contacting you by phone or mail, and if they do it is against the law. After getting a cease contact letter, a debt collector may still sue you in court.
The cease contact letter on this website will help you to get a debt collector to stop contacting you. This can be helpful if:
- All of your income and property are exempt, or
- You are overwhelmed by debt collectors and need some time to decide what to do next.
If you are still not sure how a cease contact letter can help you, talk to a lawyer.
Step Two: Download the cease contact letter and fill it out
To fill out the cease contact letter, you will need to know:
- Your mailing address
- The debt collector’s name and mailing address
- The account number for the debt.
If you don’t have this information with you at this time, bookmark this page so that you can return to it later.
Step Three: Make a copy of the cease contact letter
You will need a copy of the cease contact letter you send to the debt collector in case you need to prove that they broke the law. Keep your copy safe.
Step Four: Mail the filled out cease contact letter
Use Certified and Return Receipt mail when you mail your cease contact letter to a debt collector. Certified and Return Receipt mail costs a bit more, but it’s worth it. The debt collector must sign a receipt when they get the letter. The receipt comes back to you. Keep the receipt with your copy of the letter. It may be important later if you have to go to court.
What happens if the debt collector keeps contacting me?
After you send a cease contact letter, the debt collector may only contact you again to let you know that they will not contact you again, and that they may take legal action against you. After that, any other contact may be illegal.
Keep a record of any future contact that the debt collector makes. Keep any letters they send you. Do not write on these letters. If they call, keep a list of dates, times, and the name of the debt collector who called, and what they said. Keep these records safe. Your notes may be important if you sue them for breaking the law. You can follow the link to download our “Debt Collector Checklist” at the bottom of this page to help you keep a record of any future contact that the debt collector makes. If you believe a debt collector is breaking the law, talk to a lawyer right away.