Some of the links included on the website are from our advertising partners. This means if you take action ( i.e make a purchase or sign up) we may earn money. For more information read our Advertiser Disclosure
Debt collectors keep calling, and every time you hear your phone ring, you cringe. You wish the ground could swallow you up or disappear like you never were, but you are here.
How can you get them off your back and get the needed breathing space? We present you with an 11-word phrase to stop debt collectors!
“Please cease and desist all calls and contact with me immediately.”
The law prohibits debt collection agencies from harassing debtors, and you can invoke this law if they are on your case repeatedly. Some people ignore debt collectors’ calls, but that is not effective. They can summon you through court, and ignoring summons can land you more trouble.
But Wait, Does an 11 Word Phrase to Stop Debt Collectors Even Exist?
Yes, this phrase exists, but before we reveal this juicy word to you, let’s consider its origin and how you can use it.
The 11-word phrase to stop debt collectors came to light from an interview in 2017 between Lary King and John Ulzheimer. John Ulzheimer was a former Equifax and FICO employee with years of experience in the business.
In the interview, Ulzheimer revealed many insightful secrets to the audience. One of the secrete was how you can deter debt collectors from ever contacting you- by uttering the 11-word phrase.
Ever since debtors have combed the internet to know the precise word- many have discovered it was nothing but a marketing trick. Sites that claim to unearth this magical phrase often want to sell an eBook or a guide.
We took it upon us to read through the book the credit expert John Ulzheimer suggested, and the truth is there is no such thing as the magical 11-word phrase that will confuse debt collectors or keep them away from ever calling.
What does the book provide? The book only advises on how you can avoid intrusive debt collectors. According to the book, you can put off intrusive collection calls by saying something like, “from today, I demand that you contact me only through writing (as indicated in Chapter 8 of the book under Frequently Asked Questions).
This direct approach has worked well for many debtors because the law protects their interests.
What Does The Law Stipulate on Debt Collector Calls?
The creditors’ rights are outlined in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). This act specifies lawful and unlawful collection methods. Consider some clauses from this act:
- Section 807(8) of the act covers collection agencies
- USC & 807 also address misleading or false representation
The FDCPA makes it illegal for a debt collector to keep pestering debtors via phone calls. A debt collector can only contact and send an email to a borrower once a day. It specifically prohibits debt collectors from doing the following:
- Contacting a debtor several times a day to intimidate, threaten, or irritate them. If a collector calls more then once, it will amount to harassment.
- Making late-night calls to debtors or when they are working.
- Calling the debtor’s family members, acquaintances, or friends and disclosing debt-related information.
- Employing abusive or rude language to force payments.
- Threatening the borrower with legal action without following due process.
How Do You Prevent Debt Collection Agencies from Calling You?
One thing is clear; you can’t ignore a debt collector’s call forever. They are likely to initiate a summon, and ignoring a summon is shooting yourself on foot.
You can inquire if you have the said debt obligation and establish if your statute limitations are still in effect. You want to be sure that the debt is yours. If you realize you have a legitimate debt, you can do the following to avoid debt collectors’ dreadful calls:
1. Request that they stop calling:
The first practical thing you can do to avoid a debt collector’s call and harassment is to let them know you can only be contacted by letters and not by calls. How can you do this? Write a letter to the creditor or agency stating that you can only be contacted in writing. Make the letter as official as possible.
The letter should state that you will not accept phone calls from the creditor or the debt collection agency. The FDCPA outline that creditors and debt collectors honor written requests from debtors.
What if collectors continue to threaten or contact you despite a written letter? You can submit a written complaint to the Attorney General’s office or Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
2. Send a written request:
While verbal requests to stop calling are valid, it’s also a good idea to send a written request to the debt collector via certified mail. This will provide you with a record of the request and can help ensure that the collector stops calling.
3. Get a lawyer involved:
If a debt collector continues to call you after you have requested that they stop, you may want to consider hiring a lawyer. An attorney can help you assert your rights and take legal action if necessary.
4. Block their number:
If the debt collector continues to call you, you may be able to block their number on your phone. Check your phone’s user manual or contact your service provider to learn how to do this.
5. Screen your calls:
You can also choose to screen your calls and only answer those from numbers you recognize. This can help reduce the stress and anxiety of constant calls from debt collectors.
6. Dispute the debt:
If you believe that the debt is not yours or that it has already been paid, you can dispute the debt with the collector. This may help stop the calls if the collector is unable to provide proof of the debt’s existence.
Additional Tips on How to Deal with Debt Collectors
Ensure you keep records each time a debt collector contacts you. Some things to record include who you talk with, when they called, and what they said. If any text messages or voice mails have threats or abusive speech, preserve them.
If you think the debt is wrongfully assigned to you, you should present your argument, explaining why the said debt is uncollectable. The collector will examine the case to see if your point is valid before stopping to collect the debt.
Take a look at your credit reports from the credit bureaus (Trans Union, Equifax, and Experian). You can request a free copy that comes once a year to establish if there is something in the report you are not aware of.
You also want to ensure your debt collectors have your current address to guarantee that you will receive communications and summons when needed, even if they do not call you. Failure to appear for a summon may lead to a default judgment against you.
When communicating with a debt collector, do not disclose sensitive information like your social security number or bank account. Some debtors make a one-off modest payment to keep collectors at bay for a while, but this is not a good idea because it can reset your limitation statute.
Additionally, you can join a debt management program as a member. These non-profit organizations offer debt counseling services to help debtors reduce their monthly payments.
They also act as a mediator between creditors and debtors. The debt collector will likely get off your back when you inform them you joined a debt management program.
You can also seek the help of a credit restoration company to help you repair your credit. Ensure the company has a credit restoration experience before paying for its services.
Is there a magical 11-word phrase to stop debt collectors off your back? It was a marketing gimmick for a book that offers advice on dealing with pestering calls from debt collectors.
It does not mean that you will get away with a debt you legally should pay back. Creditors have a right to collect what they gave you as a loan, and if they do so within the confines of the law, you do well to pay. However, if they are constantly calling, they infringe on your right, and this article has highlighted what to do to stop the harassment.
Q: Can I request that debt collectors stop calling me?
A: Yes, you have the right to request that debt collectors stop calling you. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), debt collectors are legally required to honor your request.
Q: What if debt collectors continue to call me after I’ve requested that they stop?
A: If debt collectors continue to call you after you’ve requested that they stop, you may want to consider hiring a lawyer to help you assert your rights and take legal action if necessary.
Q: What if I cannot afford to pay the debt?
A: If you cannot afford to pay the debt, it’s important to be honest and direct with the debt collector about your financial situation. You may be able to negotiate a payment plan or explore other options for managing your debt.
Q: Can I record calls with debt collectors?
A: Depending on your state’s laws, you may be able to legally record calls with debt collectors. Recording calls can provide evidence of abusive or harassing behavior by the collector.
Q: What should I do if I believe the debt is not mine?
A: If you believe that the debt is not yours or that it has already been paid, you can dispute the debt with the collector. This may help stop the calls if the collector is unable to provide proof of the debt’s existence.
Q: Are there other strategies I can use to manage debt collectors?
A: Yes, there are other strategies you can use to manage debt collectors, including understanding your consumer rights under the FDCPA and documenting all communications with debt collectors. It’s also a good idea to seek professional guidance if you’re struggling with debt.