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What can be done to stop debt collectors from contacting me?

People in Texas who are behind in their financial obligations often feel harassed by the constant phone calls and letters they probably receive from debt collectors. The practices in which debt collectors engage in order to try to collect on owed debts is governed by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, a federal law that regulates their behavior and actions.

Debt collectors are not to call early in the morning or late at night. Repeated phone calls used with the intent to annoy people are illegal, as is the use of foul language. Debt collectors are not supposed to threaten arrests, represent that they are attorneys, threaten violence, harm or threaten anything the collector has no intent on doing.

In order to stop debt collectors from calling or making contact, the debtor should write a letter telling the collector they want no further contact. It should be sent by certified mail and a copy retained. After receiving the letter, the collector may send one letter simply stating it will make no further communication attempts. The only allowed contact other than that is a notice of intent to sue if that is how it decidea to proceed.

Debt collectors that engage in prohibited behavior may be sued by the harassed debtor. If the debtor prevails, the debt collector will be forced to pay damages as well as attorney's fees. People can also end contact from debt collectors by filing for bankruptcy. When a bankruptcy petition is filed, debt collectors are stayed from making any further collection attempts. If they still attempt to do so, the bankruptcy court may hold them in violation and assess a fine and damages. People who are being harassed by debt collectors may want to discuss their available options with a bankruptcy lawyer. It is possible to get relief from debts as well as from creditor harassment.

Source: Federal Trade Commission, "Debt Collection", January 04, 2015

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