Debt Collectors Keep Calling Me At Work
Why do debt collectors keep calling me at work after I tell them to stop?
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act protects you from debt collectors calling your workplace. But, if you tell them you want them to stop, the debt collectors keep calling.
To get them to stop calling, you need to know the right words to say.
“Don’t call me here” doesn’t work. Nether does “please don’t call me at work.” On this, debt collectors do not have to pay attention to what you want. You need to tell them your employer doesn’t allow you to take debt collector calls at work.
Here’s the right way to say it.
“The boss doesn’t let me take your calls at work.” Or, “I’m not allowed to get personal business calls at work.”
The legal authority for this is found in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCP) at 15 usc 1692c(a)(3). It says “a debt collector may not communicate with a consumer in connection with the collection of any debt—at the consumer’s place of employment if the debt collector knows or has reason to know that the consumer’s employer prohibits the consumer from receiving such communication.”
You have to say it’s the boss—not you—who doesn’t want debt collectors calling.
What Else Works to Stop the Debt Collectors Calling?
There are three other magic word phrases that work. Two of them have to be in writing.
“Don’t contact me any more.” On the phone, “don’t contact me anymore” does nothing. But if you send it in writing they have to stop. That one is pretty straight forward.
“I refuse to pay.” This is another phrase where it’s easy to get the wording wrong. “I don’t know what debt you’re talking about” doesn’t help; the debt collectors keep calling. “That’s not my debt” doesn’t help. “I’m out of work and can’t pay you anything” doesn’t help either.
To all those reasons why you are not paying, you need to add “I refuse to pay.” Like this: “I don’t know what debt you are talking about and I refuse to pay.” The refuse to pay response, like the don’t contact me response, has to be in writing.
(One of the top FDCPA lawyers in the country, Dick Rubin, told me that sometimes telling them “I refuse to pay” can really hack off them, so instead the debt collectors keep calling. But if the debt collectors keep calling, after you put in writing that you refuse to pay, you can sue their pants off.)
“Call my lawyer”
“Call my lawyer”—those are more magic words. “Call my lawyer” can be on the phone; it doesn’t have to be in writing. My clients often tell me that saying “call my lawyer” to pushy debt collectors can be a lot of fun. (You do have to tell them who your lawyer is. But the lawyer’s name and contact info is all you have to give them.)
This only works on debt collectors
The law assume that original creditors, like the credit card or car finance company or hospital, will be relatively polite in collecting their own debts. (They don’t want a bad reputation in the community.) But debt collector want to be known for being mean; so the law protects you against those debt collectors. Here’s what Congress said: “Abusive debt collection practices contribute to the number of personal bankruptcies, to marital instability, to the loss of jobs, and to invasions of individual privacy.” 15 USC 1692.
When debt collectors stop calling, they can still send you court papers
Stopping the phone calls is only a temporary solution. The debts are still there. If you only have one debt that’s gone bad, maybe you can work something out. If you have lots of debt problems, maybe it’s time to talk to a bankruptcy lawyer.
Some people think bankruptcy is some kind of punishment because you can’t pay your bills. But actually, the purpose of bankruptcy is to help you. If you have honest debts that you just can’t pay, call me today. You’ll like our friendly service with a smile.
Nolo has this wrong. They say, “simply tell the debt collector to stop calling you at work.” That doesn’t work.