You simply tell them to stop calling you. It’s literally just as simple as that. Of course, that doesn’t mean that the collection agency will follow your instructions. Or follow the law.
St. Louis collection agencies are bound by the FDCPA (Fair Debt Collections Practices Act). It is a federal statute that tightly regulates what a debt collector can and can’t do when they try to collect on a debt. But chances are you’ve never heard of the FDCPA. If so, you are like most people (whenever I mention this law to clients, they usually stare at me blankly).
But just because you’ve never heard of it, that doesn’t mean the St. Louis debt collectors get a free pass. They must still obey each and every tenant of the law. So let me give you a few examples of how a debt collector might violate your federal rights: 1) they can threaten you with a lawsuit; 2) they can harass you, call you names, or try to intimidate you; 3) they can leave you a voicemail that does not identify themselves as a debt collector (trying to collect on a debt); 4) they can tell you that they have reported the debt to the credit bureau when in fact they have not; 5) they can send you a letter that does not disclose certain rights that you have. And the list goes on and on. In fact, my experience has been that most people have their rights violated without even knowing it.
So what can you do? Well, you can write a cease and desist letter, telling them that you do not want to have anymore contact from them (either by way of phone or letter). But they may continue to come after you even when you do that. You can let them know that you don’t have any money to pay. But they can always just keep calling you twenty times a day and harass you for funds you don’t have.
What I always suggest to people is simple: the moment you receive the first contact from a collection agency (whether it is a phone call or a letter), contact a St. Louis bankruptcy attorney. The experienced lawyers at The Law Office of Jennifer Alter-Rieken have been holding debt collectors responsible for their actions for years. Our firm will scrutinize each and every thing that the collector has done, determine if they have violated your rights, and file suit against them if necessary.
The remedy for having violated your rights is $1,000. That is obviously not an amount that is going to change your life, but it’s something. The other nice thing about the FDCPA is that the St. Louis collection agency has to pay your legal bill. As a result, we never have to charge you a dime for any fees. Let me say that again: we never have to charge a cent in legal fees for any work we do on an FDCPA case because if the collector has violated your rights, they have to pick up the tab.
Call today to ask about how the FDCPA affects you!!