If debt collectors are calling you and you don’t want to speak to them, you should demand that they stop. Get their address and send each a “cease communication” letter. Legal Services for the Elderly can provide you with a “cease communication” form letter to use, just call the Helpline at 1-800-750-5353.
A “cease communication” letter should be sent to a debt collector using certified mail, return receipt requested and you should keep a copy of the letter for your own records.
Once they receive your “cease communication” letter, the debt collector may call you to say that there will be no further contact or to tell you that it will be taking a specific action, such as filing a lawsuit. But, they are not allowed to talk to you about your debt. If a debt collector keeps bothering you about your debt after you have sent the “cease communication” letter, they are breaking the law and you should report it to the Maine Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection at 1-800-332-8529. The “cease communication” letter does not cancel the debt and you may still be sued on the debt. Remember, your original creditor may still contact you about the debt.
Do not be surprised if more than one debt collector calls about a debt. Once you send the “cease communication” letter to the first debt collector, your debt will probably be sold to another debt collector who will start contacting you. Just keep sending the letters and remember that you do not need to talk to any debt collector no matter what they tell you.
Debt collectors are very good at pressuring people to make payments on debts. Debt collectors will say anything to try to get money out of you. Some might even break the law and lie to you about the debt collection process or worse, threaten you. You may want to screen your calls to avoid answering calls from debt collectors.
If you do answer a call from a debt collector, say, “I exercise my rights under federal and Maine law and demand that you immediately stop contacting me.” Then, just hang up the phone. It may feel strange to be so abrupt with a debt collector, but anything you say will just encourage them to keep trying to get money from you. Remember, you do not have to speak to any debt collector.
At some point, you will be served with court documents. When you are, call the Legal Services for the Elderly Helpline immediately at 1-800-750-5353. In the meantime, feel free to call the Helpline if you have further questions or if you would like to obtain Legal Service for the Elderly’s “cease communication” form letter.