How can you stop bill collectors from harassing you?


Quick Answer

A debtor can stop a bill collector from harassing him by calmly and firmly telling the collector that it is only allowed to contact him by mail, states the Federal Trade Commission. If the debt collector fails to comply, the debtor can file an action with the FTC.

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Full Answer

The Federal Trade Commission regulates debt collectors, as the agency explains, and it enforces restrictions against bill collectors. For example, a bill collector cannot harass someone at his job to the point that the debtor loses that job. Many debt collection agents purposely try to intimidate debtors.

If a debtor asks the debt collection agency to stop contacting him at work, the agency must comply. An employer may not fire an employee because his wages are garnished as part of debt collection, but the FTC warns that the debtor should try to not let an agency proceed with wage garnishment and should work out a settlement instead.

If a debtor wants a debt collector to stop contacting him altogether, he should write a letter and mail it certified mail with a return receipt, which provides documentation that the collector received the letter, states the FTC. Once the collector receives the letter, he must stop contacting the debtor; however, if the debt collector plans on filing a lawsuit, the agency can notify the debtor to advise him of this. A debt collector can also contact the debtor to tell him that no further contact is to be made. However, lack of contact between the agency and the debtor does not make the debt go away.

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