This resource has a template so you can mail an official letter to a debt collector to get them to stop contacting you.
Step 1. Write a letter.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is a federal law that requires collection agencies to stop contacting you after receiving a letter from you.
If you tell a debt collector in writing to stop contacting you, the debt collector cannot contact you again.
The only time the debt collector can contact you after they receive your letter is to tell you that a specific legal action is being taken, such as filing a lawsuit or forgiving or selling your debt.
This rule only applies to debt collectors and attorneys collecting debts for creditors. The original creditor can still contact you.
This letter also does not stop the debt collector or original creditor from bringing a lawsuit against you.
What should the letter say?
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has created an easy form that will create a letter for you.
Step 2. Mail the letter.
Ask for a Return Receipt so you know your letter was received.
Go to your local post office and ask to send the letter Return Receipt requested. You will receive a delivery record showing the signature of the person that received the letter.
It will cost you $2.75 to have the receipt mailed to you or $1.45 to have the receipt e-mailed to you.
Why is a return receipt important?
There are two reasons you want be sure the collector received your letter.
- If you know they received your letter, you know they are required by federal law to stop contacting you.
- Also, if this ever became a debt collection case in court, you can use the receipt in your trial.
The debt does not go away with this letter.
This letter only makes it so the debt collector cannot contact you in writing, on the phone, or in person. You are still required to pay the debt.
Do not ignore any letters regarding a lawsuit.
If you cannot pay the debt, the creditor or the debt collector may file a lawsuit against you. If a lawsuit has been started against you, you must be served a copy of the court papers. These papers are usually called a Summons and Complaint.
What do I do if I am served with court papers?
Usually, you have 20 days to respond to court papers. For debt collection cases, you are not usually given a date to appear in court.
Instead, you need to respond to the claims made against you by filing an answer.
- Learn how to answer a summons and complaint from NYCourts.gov.
- Find free legal help with your debt collection case using our search tool.
Last Reviewed: October 1, 2017