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Stop Collection Calls

In order to stop collection calls at home you must send a “stop calling letter” to the collector. Stopping calls at work can be a verbal or written notification. See notes below for information about who and when they can call, how many times a day can they call, calling your cell phone, stopping calls at work and rescinding a “do not call” letter. (see notes below)

Stop Collection Harassment

Stop Debt Collection Calls Letter

How do I stop debt collectors from contacting me?

Another powerful tool for stopping harassing phone calls is to record the phone conversation. Inform the caller at the beginning of the call that you are taping the call as evidence for filing a formal complaint with the State Attorney General and the Federal Trade Commission. If your phone system does not have a way to record conversations, purchase an inexpensive cassette tape or digital type answering machine capable of recording several minutes and that allows recording while on the phone. Another option, if your phone has a speaker option, is to place it in this mode and use a regular or hand-held tape recorder to tape the conversation.

ALWAYS inform the caller at the beginning of the call that you taping the call.

See these Collection Call Rules and if the calls continue, contact your State Attorney General’s consumer protection division, use this link to locate yours and then file a formal complaint. While you’re on the phone or the web site, ask if they can offer any assistance such as calling or sending the collector a written warning to stop harassing you. Also ask for a reference to any state laws that offer protection from harassment.

Consider filing a formal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as well using their FTC on-line complaint form.

IMPORTANT: When collectors demand payments under the threat of legal action they may be violating the FDCPA.

Although you have the right to refuse to work with collectors, if you choose to make payments, send a payment agreement letter (return receipt requested) and only promise to pay what you can afford. Remember, a judge has to grant a judgment before collectors can take any action such as wage garnishment. Judgments are not automatic! Always do everything in writing, keep accurate records (for at least 15 years).

The only legal reason for calling neighbors (or any third party) is to locate you. If collectors already have your location information (home phone, home address or work phone and address) then, calling third parties is prohibited. The only possible reason for calling third parties, after they already have your location information, is to embarrass you; a clear violation of the FDCPA.

NOTE 1: When can they call?

Unless you give debt collectors permission to do otherwise, they can only contact you under specific conditions and during certain times of the day:

They can contact you at your place of residence by phone, mail, in person, by FAX or email during reasonable hours such as between 8 am and 9 P.M..

They cannot contact you at any unusual time or place or a time or place known or which should be known to be inconvenient to you.

They cannot contact you at work if your employer disapproves and they are informed of this fact by you or your employer.

See Illegal Phone Calls

Note 2: How many times a day can they call?

According to the FTC’s published interpretation of the FDCPA, collectors cannot continuously call you. Section 806(5) prohibits contacting the consumer by telephone “repeatedly or continuously with intent to annoy, abuse, or harass any person at the called number.” Continuously means making a series of telephone calls, one right after the other. “Repeatedly” means calling with excessive frequency under the circumstances.

Note 3: Can they call my cell phone?

The short answer is yes! If you provided your cell number on the credit application or to the creditor as a means of contacting you, then collectors can call your cell phone. The only way to stop them from calling you on your cell phone (or any other phone) is to send a “stop calling letter“.

Who can they call?

Section 805(b) — Communication with Third Parties
Unless you consent, or a court order or section 804 permits, “or as reasonably necessary to effectuate a post-judgment judicial remedy,” debt collectors “may not communicate, in connection with the collection of any debt, with any person other than you, your attorney, a consumer reporting agency if otherwise permitted by law, your creditor, the attorney of the creditor, and the attorney of the debt collector.”

Section 805(b)1. Consumer consent to the third party contact. Your consent to third party contact does not have to be writing. For example, if third parties volunteer that you have authorized them to pay on your account, then the debt collector may normally presume your consent, and accept the payment and provide a receipt to the party that makes the payment. However, consent may not be inferred only from your inaction when the debt collector requests such consent.

Section 805(b)2. Location information. Although a debt collector’s search for information concerning the consumer’s location (provided in section 804) is expressly excepted from the ban on third party contacts, debt collectors may not call third parties under the pretense of gaining information already in his possession.

Section 805(b)3. Incidental contacts with telephone operator or telegraph clerk. Debt collectors may contact an employee of a telephone or telegraph company in order to contact the consumer, without violating the prohibition on communication to third parties, if the only information given is that necessary to enable the collector to transmit the message to, or make the contact with, the consumer.

Collectors are allowed to call third parties to verify location information. This means they can call your family, friends, neighbors and employer. However, the information they reveal about you and themselves and the questions they can ask is strictly limited by the FDCPA. When contacting third parties they must identify themselves but not state that you owe any debt; they can say that they are confirming or correcting information they have about your location, address, phone number, and employer only. Also, only if expressly requested to do so, can they identify who they work for. More on 3rd Party Contact

IMPORTANT NOTE! Let me emphasize that section 805(b)2. specifically says, “debt collectors may not call third parties under the pretense of gaining information already in his possession.” Thus, calling your family, friends, neighbors, employees, employer and so forth, after they already have your phone number, is a serious violation of the FDCPA and should be reported to your State Attorney General immediately.

Note 5: Stopping Collection Calls at Work,

First of all, collectors should only call someone other than you at work to verify your employment. Discussing your debt or any other personal information is illegal! They are allowed to call you at your place of employment if they have not been told your employer prohibits such calls.

If your employer objects to collectors calling the workplace, either you or your employer must inform collectors of the “no call policy”. This can be verbally or in writing (the FDCPA supports verbal notification). Once informed, any additional calls to your work place violates the FDCPA and opens the collector up to a lawsuit.

Note 6: Rescinding “do not call” order.

If you’ve sent collectors a “do not call or contact” letter and now you’d like to rescind that order, you must do so in writing. Just calling them and telling them is not enough. It’s true that collectors will probably take your call but they would be wise to not talk with you until you’ve rescinded the no contact order in writing.

On the other hand, you may be contacted by a collector, lawyer, or creditor requesting you to lift the no contact order. Only you can decide to do this however, the only legitimate reasons for lifting the no call order is to negotiate a payment plan or settlement of the issue.

I’m usually asked if the letter requesting you to lift the no call order is a violation of the FDCPA. The FDCPA does address this issue directly but it does say that any contact after receiving your written no contact letter must comply with the FDCPA. Namely, to inform you of what they intend to do now however, this communication cannot contain a dunning notice (demand for payment). If it does, it violates the FDCPA. In my opinion, requesting you to lift the order, so that negotiations can take place is not a violation.


If you believe you are a victim of unfair or illegal debt collection tactics, submit your information to a FREE* Fair Debt Lawyer by:

  • Clicking here for a FREE* Fair Debt Case Review;
  • Calling toll free 888-FDCPA-LAW (888-332-7252);
  • Clicking here to locate a FREE* Fair Debt Lawyer
  • The debt collector may just be liable to you for statutory damages of up to $1,000, plus any actual damages suffered, plus attorney fees!
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  2. How can I get a previous company that I worked for creditors to stop calling me. I have asked them and told them that I no longer work for that company to stop calling; even told them that the company closed. Please help someone tired of all the phone calls on my private cell number…. I didn’t give my number to them to begin with former employees did and it is making me mad… I want it to stop.

    • Are the companies that are calling you trying to collect on a debt owed by you or is this debt owed by your former employer? Did you have ownership in this company and is this why they are calling you?
      We should look into this more there are multiple issues here please give us a call. Happy to provide a free consumer rights evaluation.

  3. There are 2 collection agencies calling for my daughter. They have her contact information but keep calling my cell phone (3 days in a row now) because they can’t get her on the phone. How can I stop them from calling me?

  4. Hello I would like for you to have my creditors and Daughter Rafika Woods Credtiors Stop Harassing Us By Sending Us Summons, Calling Us, Visiting My House and Sending Threating Letters That Get Thrown Away and We Bought Cant Afford A Bankruptcy Lawyer.ThAnks

  5. I had been in communication with a collection agency. I thought about h=going into debt management to keep my security clearance (5 yrs of unemployment) and help me and my daughter finally get our own place, after being misplaced for 3 yrs. Well at the same time the collection agency beefed up their calls. I spoke with an agent and she seemed kind, tried to talk me out of a debt management program, and stated creditors will take whatever I send them. Well, I sent them $20. She calls and says this is unacceptable because it would take too long to repay and they have put me in legal. She said I can avoid legal if I pay $100 a month. I said I really can’t because of my job just being a contract and could only for November to AVOID legal action. Was she correct?

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  8. I purchased a TV from Cowboy Maloney financed by Credit Acceptance (letters from Acceptance Now). Before signing I inform the rep that I wanted to payout in 3 or 6 months. I noticed on the credit lease that I would have to pay $117+ for 3 months. One month later after catching a ride to pay bills, I forgot to put the TV & my cell phone payment on a debit card. The lan company is 25 miles away so debt was reasonable for me. I tried to get back in town to put that payment & my cell payment on my card when I could not get a ride. My cell was shut off & I did not complete my grocery shopping. It was the next month before I could get another ride into town. So I told them that I didn’t have away into town to make the deposit on my card & later my cell ran out of minutes. So I told them to come pick the TV up. My cell ran out of minutes they never showed. A VERY LONG STORY. I ASKED FOR EXTENSION UNTIL FEB 3RD IN WHICH I HAD ALREADY PLANNED TO PAY OFF THE 3 MONTHS PLAN. THEY TOLD ME THAT I COULD NOT KEEP THE TV. I COULD NOT PAY IT OFF EARLY. FINSH THIS WHEN I GET LEGAL ADVICE. IT IS A LONG STORY.

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