Q:

How do you write a letter to stop creditor harassment regarding a bill that belongs to someone else?

A:

Quick Answer

The best way to deal with this situation is to tell the caller that he is calling an incorrect number for the person he is trying to reach. Debt collectors want to collect the money they are owed and derive no benefit from calling the wrong person, so this usually works.

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Full Answer

If this approach does not work, there are other steps a person can take. If the fax number or email address of the debt collector is available, send a copy of the phone bill showing the date and time of the offending call to the collector. This confirms that the call went to a person other than the person who owes the debt. If the identity of the debt collector is not known, try calling the number that shows on your caller ID. If that doesn't work, it may be necessary to resort to other means, such as using a reverse telephone directory, some of which require a small payment for providing information, to track the number. If the caller is calling from a land line, the phone company may be able to provide a name and address, as well.

Consumers should know that the law is on their side in these cases. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act protects everyone from harassment, not just the person who owes the debt. That means that a person who is being called repeatedly for a debt he doesn't owe can sue the collection agency for actual damages, statutory damages and attorney's fees. In states such as California, the original creditor and the collection agency both can be sued.

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