I’ve been there. When the economy went down the toilet a few years back I lost my job and I had debt collectors calling me and harassing me for money I didn’t have. They called my friends, my mom, and even my girlfriend’s parents! The good news is you don’t have to put up with that crap anymore. Use this guide to fight back against rude debt collectors and even make them pay you!
Stop Debt Collectors and Make Them Pay You Guide
Step 1: Send a letter
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) requires debt collectors to cease contacting you via telephone once you ask them to. The best way to do so is to send a certified cease and desist letter demanding they cease contacting you via telephone. By law, they may only contact you to:
- Tell you they’re not going to contact you anymore
- That they intend to sue you or use some other legal remedy to collect the debt
What to include in the letter
In your letter, be sure to include:
The current date,
The name and address of the debt collector,
Any account number you have for the collection.
I have created some downloadable templates you can use to easily create your cease and desist letter.
Step 2: Request a Debt Validation
Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act sec. g 15 U.S.C. §1692g (FDCPA) and Fair Credit Credit Reporting Act you have the right to request proof that the debt is valid and indeed yours. Many collection agencies are quite sloppy operations and don’t keep records as well as they should. That’s why according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) 50% of debt validation requests result in the debt not being validated.
There are two ways to request a debt validation. The first is to do it yourself which requires study of the FDCPA and the many loopholes that bill collectors will try to use to avoid validating the debt or have it done for you.
Step 3: Document!
This is the most important step if you want to make bill collectors pay you! After you’ve sent your cease and desist letter and requested a debt validation. You must document every single time they call you, a family member, or your job. When they call make sure to ask for and record the name of the person calling plus document the date and time they called you. If you can catch them on tape cursing or being abusive that’s even better!
Step 4: File a Complaint with the FTC
If they continue to contact you then you should file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. This will help you make your case in step 5. You may go here to file a complaint with the FTC.
Step 5: File a Lawsuit
Under the FDCPA a consumer may file a lawsuit in state court for any violations of the act. Since pursuing a debt that hasn’t been properly validated or continuing to call even after receiving a cease and desist letter are violations you may sue them. If you have access to an attorney then you can hire an attorney to help you and you may get more money. However, most people don’t have the money or the time to obtain an attorney in which case you can file a suit in small claims court. If you’ve never filed a suit in small claims court this book should help you (once on Nolo search for “Everybody’s Guide to Small Claims Court”)
So long as you have documented that they continued to call you even after receiving a cease and desist letter and a debt validation request you should win easily. Under the FDCPA you are entitled to a minimum of $1,000 per violation and that’s even if you suffered no actual loss!
Other grounds on which to sue:
- Using abusive language
- Calling at abnormal times such as before 8am or after 9pm
- Telling others about the debt
- Making threats–for example threatening to have you arrested
Have All This Done For You!
Now as you can see these steps, while they do work, will take a lot of your time and energy. The good news is you could have all this done for you! Set up a FREE no obligation consultation with either Curadebt or American Debt Enders