If you are struggling with debt and have received calls from debt collectors, you may have heard about the 11-word phrase used to stop debt collectors. But, just what is the 11-word credit loophole, and does it work? What can you say to stop harassing debt collectors from calling? Get an explanation of these questions and more in this guide to stop receiving collection calls.
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Reasons Why Debt Collectors Call You
The main reason debt collectors call you is that you have past-due debts. Your original creditors may have sold your accounts to a debt collection agency that makes it their business to settle those debts. Or, perhaps bill collectors call you because they are trying to find a friend or family member of yours who is past due on bills. If that is the case, you are under no obligation to provide information about a friend or family member, and the debt collection agency may not contact you again.
What Can You Say To Stop Creditors Calling You?
There are several things you can say to stop creditors from calling you. Even if the debt they are calling about is yours, you can verbally tell a debt collector to stop calling. What you are trying to accomplish is having the calls stop and the bill collector contacts you in writing instead. Here are some examples of things to say to stop creditors from calling you.
- “Please do not contact me by phone. I will only respond if your request is in writing.”
- “Until you prove in writing that the debt is mine, I will no longer accept calls from you.”
- “I don’t believe I owe this debt. Please send me more information about it so I can verify.”
- “Please provide the collection agency’s name and address, so I can send a cease and desist letter.”
- “I’m addressing this through a debt resolution company. Please contact them instead of me.”
The 11-Word Phrase to Stop Debt Collectors
If you have heard that there’s an 11-word phrase that will stop debt collectors, you aren’t alone. Word spread on the Internet about a way to get debt collectors off your back using the phrase.
Does The 11 Word Phrase to Stop Debt Collectors Exist?
It may leave you wondering if the 11-word phrase actually exists. The answer to that question is not exactly. There are things people can say to stop calls from debt collectors, and there are things you can do to make the calls stop as well. But first, here’s a brief explanation of the origin of that viral story about a mysterious 11-word phrase to stop the harassing phone calls.
The Origins of the 11-Word Phrase to Stop Debt Collectors
The origins of the 11-word phrase people can use to stop debt collectors dates back five years to 2017, when Larry King interviewed credit expert John Ulzheimer on his talk show. Having worked for FICO and Equifax, Ulzheimer had tips for viewers being contacted by debt collectors. The phrase was actually a marketing gimmick to boost sales of his book! In chapter 8 of his book, there was a phrase to get debt collectors to stop calling, and it goes something like this: “From now on, I demand that you only contact me in writing and stop calling me.” And yes, it’s more than 11 words.
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What the Law Says About Calls from Debt Collectors
To counter the long history of abuse by debt collectors, the federal government stepped in with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to safeguard your rights as a consumer. It clearly defines what’s legal and illegal when it comes to debt collection and calls from debt collectors. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act allows debt collectors to send you mail and call you once a day, but they may not harass you with threatening, rude or abusive language. In addition, they may not call you at work or at night. Most importantly, the law states that if you demand debt collectors to stop calling you and instead only contact you in writing, they must abide by your request.
Things to Consider If You Are Receiving Debt Collector Calls
It can be intimidating to get repeated debt collector calls, and you may not know how to handle the stress and pressure. However, debt collectors are trained professionals who know what to say to prompt a response from you they may use against you in the future. It may be tempting not to answer their calls, but that may not be the best choice, depending on your circumstances. To help you deal with this unwanted contact, here are things to consider if you are receiving debt collector calls.
Avoid Giving Personal Information because it can be used to collect the debt. Debt collectors may ask you to confirm basic information from your credit report, such as your current address, phone number or debts you have previously paid, as a way to get you to acknowledge the debt they are calling about is yours. Do not give them your bank account numbers, your Social Security number or any property value on real estate you may own since it could be used for wage garnishment or property lien.
Don’t Make Any Promises. Debt collectors are intimidating and good at making you say things you don’t intend to say. Making a promise to send payment gives the debt collector information they can use against you in future communications. Your promise may restart the statute of limitations on your debt.
Avoid Losing Your Temper when taking calls from debt collectors. You may reveal personal information in the heat of the moment that the debt collector can use against you. Remember that all calls are recorded, and shouting, or swearing is not a positive reflection of who you are.
Do Not Make Any Payments to the Debt Collectors since it signals to them that you are accepting that the debt is yours. Debt collectors may try persuading you to make a small payment in good faith, and it may seem like they will stop contacting you if you make that minimum payment. Your payments will give collectors permission to keep contacting you and extend the statute of limitations on the debt.
Document Everything You Say To Debt Collectors. Calls from debt collectors can catch you off-guard, so it’s wise to ask them to call back at a better time for you. Then, document everything you say on the call. Make sure you write down their contact information, including their name, the collection agency’s name and their business address for future reference. Note the date and time of every call. Take notes of everything you say and how the debt collector responds. The information may be helpful if you need to recall previous conversations in the future or if you are facing the debt collector in court.
Ignore the Debt Collector if you wish, but that will not make the problem or your debts go away. In fact, ignoring the debt collector may prompt them to use other methods to collect the debt, including filing a lawsuit against you. You may find yourself needing legal advice.
3 Ways to Stop Collection Calls
Here are three ways to stop debt collection calls.
1. Pay Off Your Debts
Paying off your debts is a sure way to stop debt collection calls. Freedom Debt Relief is a debt settlement company that offers programs to help you pay off debts faster than making minimum monthly payments. Freedom Debt Relief will negotiate with creditors to reduce your total debts or off debt consolidation solutions. You start your journey to credit card debt relief in just a few days with Freedom Debt Relief. Answer just a few questions to see if you are eligible.
2. Ask The Collection Agency To Prove That The Debt Is Really Yours
It is your right to ask the collection agency to prove in writing that the debt is really yours. The collector will have five business days to respond with the documentation showing evidence the debt is yours. Then, you have a month to study the paperwork, including the original loan contract, and challenge or accept it.
3. Double-Check The Statute Of Limitations On Your Debt
Always double-check the statute of limitations on your debt. The statute of limitations, which varies by state laws and type of debt, is a rule which limits how long a creditor can sue you to pay a debt. There can be no legal action against you from a debt collector if the debt is older than your state allows, but the debt will remain on your record. Most states have a statute of limitations ranging from three to ten years after you last made a payment or contacted the creditor. If you make a payment in an effort to stop debt collectors from contacting you, that could reset the clock on your debt.