You may have heard of the 11-word phrase (“Please cease and desist all calls and contact with me, immediately”) used to stop debt collectors if you are dealing with debt and have received calls from debt collectors.
However, what exactly is the 11-word credit loophole and how effective is it? What can you say to fend off obnoxious debt-collecting calls?
Get answers to these and other questions in this guide to preventing collection calls.
Read on as we throw more light on this.
Origin of the 11-Word Phrase
In an interview with credit expert John Ulzheimer on Larry King’s show, where he was promoting the book “Credit Secrets,” published by Scott and Alison Hilton, the 11-word phrase to thwart debt collectors was first stated.
Page 43 of the book, according to Ulzheimer, contains a “simple 11-word phrase you can employ to ensure that no bill collector will ever approach you again.”
The debt collector cannot even call your phone number, he continued, because of this one statement. That is untrue.
His remark about the interview caused hordes of debtors to desperately look for the precise 11-word sentence.
Actually, it was only a publicity stunt to increase the book’s sales.
What Does the Law Say About Calls From Debt Collectors
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act was created by the federal government to protect your rights as a consumer and counter the lengthy history of abuse by debt collectors.
The fair debt collection act defines what is legal or not as regards debt collection.
Debt collectors are permitted by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to contact you by phone and mail once each day, but they are not allowed to harass you or use threatening, insulting, or abusive language.
Additionally, they might not call you after hours or on weekends.
Most importantly, the law mandates that debt collectors must comply with your request if you ask them to cease contacting and only communicate with you in writing.
Why Are Debt Collectors Calling Me?
Your debt collection agency will be notified if you don’t pay your invoices on time.
Following this, by law, debt collectors are permitted to contact you by phone between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. to obtain payment for the debt.
Some debtors send your debt to a third-party collection agency, while others utilize their internal debt collectors.
In order to recover unpaid taxes, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) also introduced a private debt collection program in 2016. Congress imposed a mandate on this program.
Debt collectors can phone you to enquire about who owes you money, but they are only permitted to do this once.
How to Stop Communication With Debt Collectors on Your Own
Telling debt collectors the 11-word command, “Please cease and desist all calls and contact with me, immediately,” is the first step in stopping them from calling you.
To make it more official, you should send the collection agency or creditors a demand letter outlining the need for them to immediately stop communicating with you.
Declare firmly that you don’t want the agency or creditor to call you again, regardless of the circumstance.
According to the FDCPA, your collector or creditor must comply with your written request.
But if they continue to approach you after you’ve sent the demand letter, you should now file a lawsuit.
You can make a complaint with the CFPB, BBB, or FTC here, as well as with your attorney general, to report the collecting agency:
Other Ways to Prevent Loan Sharks From Contacting You
Some other ways to Prevent debt collectors from contacting you include:
- Verify your debt by requesting a debt validation letter from the collection agency.
- Confirming the statute of limitations on the said debt. Debt collectors are not legally allowed to collect old debts. Typically the statute of limitations for most states is between 3 and 6 years.
- Enrolling in a debt management program: Debt management programs assist debtors to reduce their monthly payments and fees and act as mediators between debtors and collectors.
Can You Ignore Debt Collectors?
Ignore debt collectors at your peril. Although not a good idea to ignore them, debt collectors can be ignored.
Ignoring debt collectors who are approaching you about a bill you owe won’t make it disappear. It also won’t prohibit debt collectors from getting in touch with you.
Debt collectors will use additional strategies to contact you if you ignore them or avoid them, including suing you.
It’s a fallacy that saying that 11-word phrase will stop debt collectors (unfortunately). It originated from a promotional interview for a book about credit.
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