How to end collection calls

Statistics suggest Americans owe $13.51 trillion in consumer debt. As a result, many collection agencies are busy making calls to chase down payment. The problem is it’s common for debt collectors to harass consumers in attempts to collect. Furthermore, consumers change their phone numbers, or they fraudulently give companies the wrong number. Unfortunately, collectors often don’t care who is on the other end of the line—they’ll harass whoever answers.

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, one of the biggest complaints people have about debt collectors is being inundated with calls over money they have either repaid or never owed in the first place. If you’re the unlucky recipient of these calls, you can put a stop to them. Here are four ways to end bothersome collection calls.

1. Ask them to stop

If you’re receiving repeated calls hounding you for someone else’s debt, explain to the caller they've reached the wrong person and ask them to please remove you off the list. There is a good possibility this won’t work, but it can’t hurt to ask because it’s the easiest solution if the debt collector complies with your request.

2. Show proof you aren’t the debtor

Repeated calls meant for someone else are annoying and frustrating. Ask the caller for a fax number or email address so you can send proof to demonstrate you aren’t the debtor. Send them a copy of your phone bill showing them the number they are calling is a different person than listed on the documentation of the debt.

3. Send a letter

Send the agency a letter asking them to stop contacting you. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau offers examples of action letters consumers can send to request third-party collection agencies to stop calling.

4. Use the law

Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, it’s illegal for third-party debt collectors to use abusive, deceptive, or unfair practices when trying to collect debts. Many states also have individual laws regarding debt collection, check to see what laws your state has enacted. If you’ve asked the collection agency to stop contacting you and they don’t comply, tell them you’ll be reporting them to the Federal Trade Commission and your state’s attorney general.

Red flags to watch for

It’s important to know, receiving unwanted calls from a collection agency also might signal you have a problem. Check your credit report to see if someone else’s debt wasn’t accidentally added to your report or if there isn’t any unpaid debt you’ve forgotten about. Additionally, always get the full name of the person you’ve spoken to and the name of the agency they represent. Legitimate agents will give this information—if the person won’t identify themselves, this could be a red flag they are running a scam.

If you are seeking to rebuild your credit rating or simply want to improve your credit standing, PRBC is here to help. To find out more information on how to obtain a free alternative credit score or to learn more about PRBC’s services, contact us today.

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