Numerous websites claim there is a magic 11 word phrase to stop debt collectors from collecting debts. That is false. The notion of an 11 word phrase to stop debt collectors is pretty much an Internet myth. It was created and perpetuated by individuals and marketing companies to sell advertisements and books. The truth is that there are no magic words to stop a debt collector from collecting the debt.
In case you are wondering what the 11 word phrase to stop debt collectors is supposed to be its “Please cease and desist all calls and contact with me immediately.”
Why doesn’t the 11 word phrase actually stop debt collectors?
The answer to why the 11 word phrase doesn’t stop collection actions should be obvious. Debt collectors are entitled by law to collect the debt. If you could simply utter some magic words to stop them they would never be able to collect. The law simply does not work that way. If all you want to do is stop collection calls, emails, texts, or letters the 11 word magic phrase should actually work. It just won’t stop the actual collection process.
Keep reading for examples of how to use true magic words to completely stop debt collection contacts. Just keep in mind that even those magic words will only stop communications. Lawsuits are another matter altogether.
Remember, verbally telling the collection agency to stop calling does nothing. Using the 11 word magic phrase should stop all collection calls but only when communicated to the collector in writing.
Why is the 11 word phrase to stop debt collectors myth still alive?
This one is easy. As long as people keep searching for the phrase it will keep coming up on pages trying to sell you services and show you advertisements. in other words, instead of helping you stop debt collectors those websites are using you and actually hurting your true chance of stopping the debt collection.
Where the 11 word phrase to stop debt collectors came from?
The start of the 11 word phrase to stop debt collectors came from John Ulzheimer who was promoting the book “Credit Secrets” on the Larry King Show. Ulzheimer actually lied and said the 11 word phrase to stop debt collectors was found in the book when it wasn’t. it was just a marketing ploy to sell more books. See the pattern yet?
Once the 11 word phrase to stop debt collectors was mentioned on television the blog writers took it from there. No one seemed to care that it was not just fake news but harmful to consumers.
You have rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), consumers have several rights when dealing with debt collectors. Some of these rights include:
- The right to be treated with respect and fairness: Debt collectors are prohibited from using abusive language or harassment, making false statements, or engaging in other unfair or deceptive practices.
- The right to accurate information: Debt collectors must provide accurate information about the debt being collected, including the amount owed and the name of the original creditor.
- The right to dispute the debt: If you dispute a debt, the debt collector must cease collection activities until they have verified the debt and provided you with written proof of the debt.
- The right to control how and when debt collectors contact you: Debt collectors must respect your preferred methods of communication and cannot contact you at inconvenient times or places.
- The right to request that the debt collector stop contacting you: If you request that the debt collector stop contacting you, they must comply with your request (with a few exceptions, such as to notify you of a lawsuit).
- The right to sue a debt collector: If a debt collector violates the FDCPA, you have the right to sue them in state or federal court for damages and attorney’s fees.
It is important to note that these rights apply only to third-party debt collectors (i.e., companies that collect debts on behalf of others), not to original creditors who are collecting their own debts.
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How to actually stop debt collection communications
Under the FDCPA, you have the right to request that a debt collector stop contacting you. This is sort of where the 11 word phrase to stop debt collectors came from. To exercise this right, you must send a written request to the debt collector stating that you wish to cease all communications. After receiving this request, the debt collector must stop contacting you. It may only contact you once after that letter to confirm receipt of the request or to inform you of any further action they plan to take.
Caution: Even when you send the cease communication letter or a letter containing the 11 word phrase to stop debt collectors the debt collection agency can still sue you for the debt. And many will sue. The cease communication letter or 11 word phrase to stop debt collectors do not under any circumstances erase the debt or prevent credit reporting of the debt.
Top 6 ways to stop debt collectors from contacting you
There are ways to stop collection agencies from contacting you. Control over the matter is yours and only yours. You can stop all communications or pick and choose if you want to stop collection phone calls but not letters. Or you can stop text messages but allow phone calls. It really is up to you.
Under the FDCPA here are 6 ways to stop debt collectors from contacting you:
- Send a cease and desist letter requesting all collection communications to stop
This stops the communications but does not prevent the collection agency from filing a lawsuit or selling the debt.
- Request validation of the debt
This is only a temporary option as it only requires the collection agency to cease communications until it verifies information about the debt. In many cases the information required of a debt validation letter is already provided in the collection letters. That makes this a fairly weak option for stopping communications.
- Sue the debt collector for violating the FDCPA or other laws
Suing the debt collector usually stops not just the collection communications but the actual collection efforts. This only works however when you have FDCPA violations to pursue. And always use a lawyer for suing a debt collection agency. Representing yourself will never get the results an attorney can achieve.
- Pay or settle the debt
We do not recommend this option unless you have exhausted all other options. Indeed, paying even a small amount will restart the statute of limitations and that is never something you want to do without first consulting a lawyer.
- File bankruptcy
Debt collectors are always required to stop collections when you file bankruptcy. This is true whether you filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy or chapter 13 bankruptcy.
- Hire an attorney
If you feel overwhelmed by the debt collector’s actions, consider hiring an attorney who specializes in consumer protection law. An attorney can help you navigate the legal process and protect your rights. Once you hire an attorney the collection agency is required to stop communicating with you directly.
True magic words to stop all debt collection communications
The 11 word phrase to stop debt collectors does not stop collection calls, letters, text messages, or other communications. However, here are a few examples of actual magic words that will stop all collection communications in their tracks.
“I hired a lawyer. His name is _____ and his phone number is ______.”
“I filed bankruptcy. My lawyer’s name is _____ and his phone number is ______.”
Those two examples of magic words to stop debt collection communications work over the phone, by text, or in written correspondence. The debt collectors must never contact you again to collect the debt when you say these magic words.
If you are making your cease and desist request in writing as we recommend, you can also add these additional magic words:
“I refuse to pay the debt.”
“Stop contacting me.”
“All telephone calls and other communications are inconvenient and unwelcome. Do not contact me ever again for any reason.”
Just keep in mind that merely stopping the collection communications does not stop debt collectors from suing you to collect the debt. Additional tools are needed to properly defend against debt collection lawsuits. Also, when you tell a collector it can no longer communicate with you, its last resort is to sue you. By cutting off communications you may actually trigger a lawsuit.
Dealing with debt collectors can be stressful, but it’s important to remember that you have rights. By following these tips and staying informed about your rights, you can protect yourself from harassment and abuse.
Although there is no magic 11 word phrase, there are things you can do to stop collection communications. The best way is to hire an attorney. Whether to simply stop the collection, sue the debt collector, or file bankruptcy, hiring an attorney is the best way to stop collection calls and letters.
You can also send a cease and desist letter but that is more likely to get you sued that hiring a lawyer to help.
Stopping collection letters and calls is more complicated than simply uttering 11 magic words. You can stop debt collectors from calling you or communicating with you but stopping communications can get you sued so proceed carefully. The last thing you want to do is follow advice from the Internet that gets you sued when there were better ways to stop the collection.