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What can be done to stop debt collectors from contacting me?

Debt is a serious problem for many people in Arkansas. Unforeseen circumstances can make it easy to get behind on debt repayments. As soon as a few payments begin to become overdue, calls and letters from debt collectors may start to become a nuisance. While these types of calls are usually legal, it is possible to take action to get them to stop.

A good way to get debt collectors to stop making contact is to notify them directly. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act created by the Federal Trade Commission guarantees certain rights to people who are in debt. Under this Act, a person who has been contacted by a debt collector may send a written notification by certified mail to the collection company. Upon receiving this notification, the collection company must stop contacting that person regarding the repayment of the debt.

It is also possible to stop contact from debt collectors by using an automatic stay. An automatic stay immediately puts a stop to debt collection efforts by collection agencies or credit card companies. Filing for bankruptcy will initiate an automatic stay, and once it is in place, calls from debt collectors must stop. Bankruptcy may also prevent debt collectors from using wage garnishment to recover money.

If a debt collector engages in harassment or threatening behavior, it is possible to file a complaint to get them to stop. Collection agencies are not allowed to use false information, threats of arrest or obscene language as part of their collection efforts. If they do so, it is possible to file a complaint with the FTC.

Creditor harassment is against the law. An attorney may be able to help a client stop harassment by explaining debt relief options, such as bankruptcy.

Source: Federal Trade Commission , "Debt Collection", December 29, 2014

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