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Creditor Harassment: When is it Too Much?

If you’re behind on your payments, a debt collector will be contacting you to collect the debt, possibly by using obscene language or threats towards you.  You might have some questions about your rights and responsibilities when a creditor is contacting you to collect.

When can a debt collector contact me?

A debt collector cannot contact you at inconvenient times or places – for example, they cannot contact you before eight o’clock in the morning or late in the evening, unless you agree to it. Collectors also cannot contact you at your work if you tell them not to call you there. The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act prohibits collectors from using obscene language, threats of violence, and many other actions.

What do I do when a collector is harassing me?

First try to talk to the collector directly. You might be able to resolve the issue with them, especially if you think you don’t actually owe the debt or think the collector is calling you mistakenly. If you decide later you don’t want the collector to contact you again, you must tell the collector in writing to cease and desist.

How do I tell the collector to stop contacting me?

The first step you should take is to write a cease and desist letter and send the original by certified mail. Pay for a return receipt so you’ll be able to document that the collector received the letter. After taking these steps, the collector should only be able to contact you to inform you there will be no further contact or that the creditor intends to take action against you.

Does sending a cease and desist letter mean my debt goes away?

No, it does not. It’s important to understand that sending such a letter to a creditor to whom you owe money does not get rid of the debt. All it should do is stop contact. The creditor or debt collector can still take legal action to collect the money you owe.

If you’re being contacted by a debt collector or creditor and have questions about your debt, contact a qualified debt relief attorney in Virginia. Your attorney can help you sort through your questions, evaluate your options, and pick the best choice for your financial future.

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