The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a federal law protecting consumers from the unfair, illegal, and harassing actions of debt collectors, including those that continue to contact you after you’ve sent them a written demand to cease communications.
- If you have not already sent a letter notifying the debt collector to stop contacting you, this should be your next step. Ensure the letter clearly outlines your desire for them to cease all contact with you regarding the debt. Maintain a copy of the letter and ensure you send it registered mail with a return receipt, so that you have proof the debt collector received the communication.
- If you have already sent a letter and the debt collector still continues to contact you or others about the debt, then you may need to send another letter via registered mail with a return receipt. This ensures the debt collector must sign for it and you have the documentation necessary to prove they received to the communication.
- If you have proof the communication was received by the debt collector and they still continue to contact you, then they are in clear violation of the FDCPA and could be subject to legal action.
The Cease and Desist Letter
A “cease communication” notice is an essential step in the process of getting debt collectors off your back. This letter must clearly state that you demand the debt collector cease all communication with you and that they stop contacting others in order to try to locate you.
After a debt collector receives a cease communication notice, they must stop all communications according to FDCPA regulations, with the exception of:
- Letters informing you of changes in the debtor, like when a debt collector sells a debt to another collection agent or firm.
- Notices of legal actions related to the debt, like if the debt collector files a lawsuit.
It is important to understand that even if the debt collector stops contacting you, they can still continue to pursue legal action against you. A cease communication notice doesn’t make the debt go away and will not stop a lawsuit from being filed or other collection efforts, like wage garnishments for example.
Getting Legal Help
If you’ve sent a cease communications letter to a debt collector and your notice has been ignored, the debt collector has broken a federal law and may be in violation of additional state laws as well. Hiring an attorney under these circumstances is often advisable.
Once you have a lawyer, all communications related to the debt must be directed to your attorney according to FDCPA statutes. Your lawyer can also hold the debt collector accountable for breaking federal and state consumer protection laws by filing a lawsuit on your behalf and by ensuring the Federal Trade Commission and State Attorney General are aware of the violation of your rights.