Is a debt collector or an old creditor calling you, or suing you for a past due balance? Are you stumped as to how to get them to leave you alone? Use this 11-word phrase to find out!
Collection agencies are prohibited by law from harassing debtors over the phone – and there is a method to stop them from contacting you repeatedly. Is it true, however, that you may completely halt debt collectors by saying a single 11-word sentence?
Does the 11 Word Phrase Exist?
Yes, the 11-word phrase does exist but first, let’s identify where it came from and how to use it! Our story starts in 2017 when Larry King spoke with credit expert John Ulzheimer, who had previously worked for Equifax and FICO and was well-versed in the business.
Ulzheimer offered many secret insights to the audience, including how to avoid debt collectors from contacting you in the future. – “by telling them the 11-word phrase.”
Numerous debtors have looked online for the precise word – Truthfully, It’s nothing more than a marketing ploy: the websites that claim to disclose the magical phrase are often attempting to sell you a book or guide.
We studied the book recommended by credit expert John Ulzheimer, and the reality is that there is no precise 11-word phrase that will get collectors off your back. The book advises you on how to avoid intrusive collection calls:
(!) You just have to say something along the lines of “‘from now on, I demand that you only contact me in writing. You may not call me on the phone”. (Chapter 8: Frequently Asked Questions (Page 162))
Why does this straightforward approach work so well? The key is in the laws that safeguard debtors’ interests.
What the Law Says About Debt Collector Calls
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is the main piece of legislation that protects your rights as a creditor. It specifies which debt collecting methods are lawful and which are not. The following parts are of particular importance to us:
- Section 807(8) of the FDCPA (about collection agencies)
- USC § 807. False or misleading representations [15 USC 1692e]
The FDCPA prohibits pestering borrowers by phone. A collector has the authority to contact and mail a debtor once every day, however it is prohibited to do the following:
- Continue to contact the creditor in order to threaten, intimidate, or just irritate them. In this perspective, anything more than one phone call each day is considered harassment.
- Make a phone call to the debtor late at night or while they are at work.
- Call the creditor’s family members, friends, and acquaintances and disclose any debt-related information to them.
- Use of rude or abusive language.
- Threaten the debtor with legal action without apropiate procedures being taken.
How to Get a Collection Agency to Stop Calling You
If a debt collector calls you, you have the option of not answering, but this is not a good choice. Disregarding phone calls is one thing, but ignoring a summons is another. You should attempt to determine if you owe the obligation and whether the statute of limitations is still in effect. The one thing you should never do is affirm that the debt is yours. In court, this may be used against you.
Inform to not call you and that they may only contact you by letter
In order to avoid being harassed by collectors, the first step is to inform them you don’t want them to call you and that they may only contact you by letter. You should next write a letter to the agency or creditor with a formal demand that they only contact you in writing from now on to make this as official as possible.
Tell the agency or creditor upfront that you will not accept any phone calls from them, under any circumstances. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) requires debt collectors to honor written requests.
If the collector continues to contact or threaten you, submit a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and notify your state’s Attorney General. You may also file a complaint with the BBB (Better Business Bureau) or the FTC (Federal Trade Commission)
Document everything you say to debt collectors
Maintain a record of every time you communicate with a debt collector. Take note of who you talked with, what they said to you, and when you spoke with them. This will help you recall all essential facts, such as how often they contact you and any discrepancies in what they say to you. If you have any voicemails or texts containing abusive language, you must preserve them since they may be used as evidence in a countersuit.
Create a cease and desist letter.
If you urge a debt collector to cease contacting you, they must comply with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Only a few exceptions apply to this rule. It is important to remember that your request must be in writing.
When you order a collector to cease contact with you, it is possible that you may lose sight of the debt. You must make your own decision on this matter. Regardless, if you wish the collector to cease contacting you, you may simply request that they do so. If this occurs, the only time they may contact you is to serve you with a lawsuit.
Explain why the debt is illegitimate.
If you believe you should not pay the obligation or that you do not owe it, you must present your case. Inform the collector that this is uncollectable and include your contact information. If you have a good cause, the collector may agree to cease collecting on the debt. Otherwise, you’ll have to submit it in court.
Examine your credit reports
You may get a free copy of your credit report from one of the three main credit reporting agencies, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion, once per year. Examine the reports to discover if there are any accounts that you are not aware of.
Inform them that you are unable to pay.
If you are unable to pay your debt, you should attempt to explain this to the debt collector. Although stating that you are unable to pay does not require them to cease collecting, it may prompt them to move on to another client. This may also prohibit your case from being heard in court.
Do not acknowledge that you owe the money or do anything else that may reset the statute of limitations. Instead, be certain that you do not confess guilt or indicate that you intend to repay the amount.
Provide the debt collector with your current address
Although you may want to avoid contact with a debt collector, you must guarantee that all communication is received. Instead of changing your phone number, ask them to stop calling. Then make sure they have your current address since you won’t miss a summons. If you fail to appear for a summons, you risk having a default judgment entered against you. When a default judgment is entered against you, you may have your wages garnished and money withdrawn from your bank account.
What to keep in mind while speaking with a debt collector
When a debt collector calls, there are a few things you should keep in mind. The first is to avoid disclosing sensitive information such as your bank account number or social security number. You should also avoid making a modest payment to “get them off your back,” since this may reset the statute of limitations. Above all, never make commitments or confess to a legitimate debt. Otherwise, you may always request that they stop and desist.
Additional Methods to Avoid Collection Calls
Telling collectors to communicate exclusively in writing generally helps, but there are a few more effective ways to halt the irritating calls:
- Request that the collection agency provide proof that the debt is really yours. You have the legal right to seek written debt confirmation. The collector will have five days to gather the necessary papers (such as the original loan contract) and deliver them to you. You will have one month to challenge the validity after you get it.
- Check your debt’s statute of limitations. It ranges from 3 to 6 years in most states. If the debt is too old, a collector cannot bring legal action against you.
- Become a member of a debt management program. These are non-profit debt counseling services that assist borrowers in lowering monthly payments and costs while also acting as go-betweens for them and their creditors. When you inform a collector you’ve enrolled in a debt management program, they’ll probably cease contacting.
- Try a reputable credit restoration company, these are companies that offer credit repair, these companies typically charge for their services so make sure you verify their experience!