How to stop debt collection calls

One of my favorite features of is the ability for consumers to submit questions and receive a personal answer via email. Our advice column has been running for many years and in that time we have answered tens of thousands of questions related to credit, debt, and money management. I often receive questions about how to stop collection calls.  Since it is a frequently asked question, I thought I'd share the answer here. 

You can simply write to the collection agency demanding they not contact you anymore. The Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act states that if a consumer notifies a debt collector in writing that the consumer wishes the debt collector to cease further communication with the consumer with respect to such debt… This is quoting directly from the Act. Basically this means that they cannot contact you about the debt.  However, they are permitted to contact you if the status of your account changes.  For example, they may notify you if they are going to stop trying to collect on the debt or if they are turning the account over to an attorney.   

Make sure, in your letter, you mention you are aware of this federal law and this provision of the law. Be sure to send your letter by certified mail, return receipt requested so you have proof they received your "cease and desist" letter.

Please be aware that taking this action does not alleviate you of your responsibility for the debt. In some cases, sending a cease and desist letter can actually escalate the collection process.

You can read the Fair Debt Collection Practices on the Federal Trade Commission’s website:

Kim McGrigg is the former Manager of Community and Media Relations for MMI.