Tuesday, April 30, 2013

How To Stop Collectors and Creditors From Calling You

One of the most annoying things about having bad credit is getting phone calls from creditors and collectors.  You don't have to put up with it.  There is a very simple way to make the phone calls stop.  To do this, you send them a very simple letter called a "Cease and Desist" letter.

Now, you want to be careful here.  You don't want to send a "Full Cease and Desist" letter to everyone that is harassing you with those bothersome phone calls.  If you do, and you allegedly owe them a lot of money, then they will have no choice but to sue you.  So, instead, you will need to send them a "Limited Cease and Desist" letter.

The difference between the two letters is that the "Full" version stops them from contacting you at all, in any way, shape or form.  The "Limited" version stops them from calling you. The "Limited" version is what you are going to need to use most of the time.  Now, it does work, but you have to realize that if the calls keep coming, its because of one of two things. One, they don't care if they break the law, or two, they stop but they sell the alleged account to another bloodsucker and that collection company starts bugging you on the phone. 

Sometimes original creditors will claim that they have the right to contact you by phone, but they absolutely do NOT if you send them the "Limited Cease and Desist" letter.  You can tell them by phone but you will always need to follow up immediately in writing.  You can send it by fax if you have their fax number, or by email if you have that, but sending it by mail is best, and always with Certified Mail, Return Receipt.  That way, they know you are not messing around.

The only time I recommend sending the "Full Cease and Desist" letter is when the alleged account is absolutely outside of the Statute of Limitations for your state.  Even if it is a 3rd party collector that is calling, and you know if you've read much of this blog that they do not have any rights to collect anything to you, you must cover your you know what with them and not use it unless it is Time-Barred or it is so little of an alleged amount that it is not profitable for them to sue you.  Though its not profitable for them to sue you for a couple hundred dollars, they may tack on all kinds of legal fees, collection fees and court costs, to drive the price up and make it worth their while.  Also, make sure you have the documented proof that it is outside of your state's Statute of Limitations when you send them the "Full" version.

I include the "Limited" version on all letters that I write for my clients. It is the last paragraph on my demand for validation letters.  I modified it from the basic ones you find on the internet because I wanted to cover every single possible phone contact they could dream up.  Occasionally I use the "Full" version as well.  Now, I generally use this in a follow up letter to them when I know the Statute of Limitations has been reached and I know they know it, and they are still being annoying.  My "Full" version is not your typical one you find online either.  It is actually several paragraphs long because I put extra stuff on there to again attempt to force them to get their crap off the credit report.

Here are the two versions I wrote and use:

Limited Cease and Desist
I am requesting, in writing, that no telephone contact be made by your offices to my home, my cell phone, my place of employment, any friends, acquaintances, or family members. If your offices attempt telephone communication with me or people I may work for or know, it will be considered harassment and I will have no choice but to file suit. All communications with me MUST be done in writing and sent to the address noted in this letter. 

Full Cease and Desist
You are hereby notified under provisions of Public Laws 95-109 and 99-361, also known as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, that your services are not accepted and I refuse to contract with you. You and your organization must CEASE & DESIST all attempts to collect the above alleged debt. Failure to comply with this law will result in my immediately filing a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and my state Attorney General's office. I will also pursue all criminal and civil claims against you and your company.

Furthermore, if any negative information is not removed from my credit bureau reports, or placed on my credit bureau reports by your company after receipt of this notice, I will have just cause to file suit against you and your organization, both personally and corporately, to seek any and all legal remedies available to me by law.

Please be aware that any telephone communications with me will be recorded for use against you in a court of law.  Your use of the telephone with me constitutes your agreement to my recording any and every communication from you via a telephone.

One more thing. If you can remember to do this, it can really benefit you.  Keep a journal or notepad that tracks all calls you receive. Note the company name, person who called, if it was a recorded message, the phone number, date and time of call, and the date you sent a "Cease and Desist" letter to them.

This is important because when you write to them, you will state every time they have called you.  You will remind them that you already sent a "C&D" to them on what date and you have the green certified receipt that they received and signed for it on whatever date. You may want to send them a bill charging them $1000 for every single call they made to you, another $1000 for every time they called your cell phone, $5000 every time they used a "Robodialer" and you have documented everything and have proof.  These are FTC and FDCPA violations. You could even offer them a settlement for their abusive practices to avoid being sued by you. Of course, your settlement conditions would include that they remove any trace of the alleged account from every credit report they furnished the bogus information to.

Good luck on your credit repair journey. As always, if you would like me to help you, I would love to be of assistance.  My contact information is up at the top, on the right.  If you leave a comment requesting help, please make sure you put your email in there so I can respond to you more effectively.

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  1. Could you please comment on the case Stonehart Vs Rosenthal

    1. Hi Donald, sorry I didn't check my email earlier and get back to you. Here's my opinion on your question. Stonehart V. Rosenthal is much like the Chaudhry v. Gallerizzon decision in that it the court went with minimal standards for validation. But, where it is more applicable than the Chaudhry case, is that it wasn't about a law firm's fees as was Chaudhry, it was about actual validation.

      Now, even though collectors may try to use those cases, there are plenty of other cases to shoot back at them. Here are 3:
      Spears v. Brennan, but that one is an Indiana case and best used by Indiana residents for a response to Chaudhry or to put in the validation letter.
      Next is Fields v. Wilber Law Firm, Donald L. Wilber and Kenneth Wilber. That one is fairly recent (2004) and it was a federal case, which is very good to use no matter what state you are in.
      The last case law I'm gonna give you is Coppola v. Arrow. This is also a federal case. These 3 cases require that the validation prove the debt through proof of the actual debt (no computer printouts or old bills), true contract, contract or purchase agreement between the OC and the collector, licensure/bonding requirements are met, collection fees they are charging are actually permitted in the original contract, and it must not be time barred.

      As you can see, I prefer to respond back with these case laws because it requires more of them. Now, I have expanded my demands from them by including UCC codes. They conduct commerce, therefore, they have to comply with the UCC codes. They are universal (as the U stands for), but each state has incorporated them into their statutes.

      So, I use the UCC codes and corresponding state codes to force them to prove there is a valid debt, there is a contract, there is ownership or authority to collect on the debt, documentation proving complete chain of assignment/sale, a full accounting and several other things. You see, they just can't get around it then.

      My goal, and I think I've reached it, is to close every single loophole they try to slither through and leave them with 2 options. Either delete it or break the law. Unfortunately, many will break the law because they know that not a whole lot of consumers are going to sue them, and if they do and they lose, its just a drop in the bucket compared to the outrageous illegitimate profit they make through collections,

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