Yes. If you send a notice in writing that you either refuse to pay the debt or that you don't want them to contact you. But, cutting off communications with them also cuts off your opportunity to build a case against your collector for illegal collection tactics and makes it more likely that your debt will be sent to a collection attorney where the stakes may be higher!
Many creditors—including credit card companies, banks, and other lenders—outsource their collection duties to third-party companies. Since these collection agencies are paid based on their ability to get results, they employ a variety of practices to get you to pay—some legal, some not.
Fortunately, your Congressional representatives passed a law called the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) that protects consumers from harassment or bullying from debt collectors. The law outlines the ways collectors are allowed to contact and treat consumers, no matter how much money they owe. Under the FDCPA, collectors are restricted to the following behaviors:
- You may only be called by a debt collection agent between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.
- At the beginning of the call, a debt collector must identify himself as a collector and explain the reason he has contacted you.
- A debt collector may not contact you at work if you have requested in writing that he not do so.
- He may not reveal your debt to anybody or any member of your family (other than your spouse) unless you give them permission to do so.
- He may not misrepresent who he is (for example, claiming that he is an old friend to get your contact information from your family).
- He may not misrepresent the purpose of the call (such as leaving a message stating that you have won a contest and should call them back to claim a prize).
- Debt collectors are prohibited from using profanity, slurs, or offensive language when speaking with you.
- They may not threaten you or your family in an attempt to get you to pay.
- They cannot threaten to sue you if they have no ability or intent to do so (like a collection agency who has no lawyers)
Hiring an Attorney Will Stop Debt Collectors From Calling
If a debt collector is using unfair or illegal practices in an attempt to get you to pay, we can deal with them on your behalf—and perhaps even get you paid!