If you swat at a persistent fly enough, it will eventually fly off to annoy someone else. Even the imperfect stranger you meet on an airplane will get the hint that you are more into catching a nap than listening to stories about his children.
You have two ways to make a debt collector go away: pay off the debt or follow the legal remedies granted by the landmark Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
An Overview of the FDCPA
If you owed a debt before September 20, 1977, a third party debt collector could use virtually any strategy outside of inflicting physical harm to collect a debt. Although not considered loan sharks in the classic definition of the term, third party debt collectors never stop collection of delinquent consumer debts.
Why are third party debt collectors always so persistent? The answer is profit.
A third party debt collector typically buys original creditor debts for a small fraction of what is owed. The FDCPA did not make free enterprise illegal, but the landmark law dramatically changed the way debt collectors collect debts.
Congress enacted legislation that makes it illegal to use abusive language or make threats to collect debts. Third party debt collectors no longer can implement deceptive debt collection tactics to force consumers into paying off debts they do not owe or pay off debts that are much larger than what consumers owed original creditors.
Can the FDCPA make a debt collector go away?
Cease and Desist is the Answer
A third party debt collector might not ever go away, but under the FDCPA, you have the legal write to send a cease and desist letter to stop the debt collector from contacting you.
We recommend you work with a licensed and experienced consumer law attorney to draft a cease and desist letter that follows all the guidelines mandated by the FDCPA. For example, an accomplished attorney can help you use the right language to prevent the debt collector from contacting you.
The only reason a debt collector has for responding to a cease and desist letter is confirming the reception of the letter or informing you of the intent to file a lawsuit to collect the debt.
You Might Be Eligible to Receive Damages
The FDCPA makes it clear that if the debt collector violates a cease and desist letter, you have the legal right to seek damages. Statutory damages, which cannot exceed $1,000, reflect the punishment for violating the law. Actual damages compensate you for suffering from mental and/or physical pain.
The anxiety caused by a third party debt collection effort after you send a cease and desist letter might cause physical issues, such as an ulcer or recurring headaches. Courts also award actual damages for mental issues, from the onset of depression to the exacerbation of OCD.
The FDCPA does not cap the amount of money a court can award for actual damages. Fill out the free evaluation form to speak with a consumer protection law attorney.