There is no magical 11-word phrase available to stop debt collection calls. The mysterious 11-word phrase started in 2017 when Larry King interviewed prominent credit guru John Ulzheimer who worked in giant credit bureaus like Equifax and FICO. In that interview, John Ulzheimer said that you can stop the call from debt collectors by “telling them to contact you in writing”. This simple tip was later advertised as an “11-word phrase to stop debt collectors.”
If you have borrowed money from a bank, credit union, or any other financial institute then you might be familiar with debt collector’s phone calls. Carrying debts is already stressful and receiving intrusive calls from aggressive debt collectors can make things even worse. Legally, collection agencies cannot harass creditors but no law can stop the debt collectors from calling you. Though many people say that there is a mysterious 11-word phrase available that can stop debt collectors from calling you! Is it really true? Does the 11-word phrase really exists and if it exists does it really work?
Does 11 Word Phrase To Stop Debt Collectors Really Exist?
Many people searched for the 11-word phrase online but they don’t find any reliable answer. This is because; there is no such phrase and credit guru John Ulzheimer didn’t say any 11-word phrase. He only shared a tip that was later used as a marketing trick by various internet pages and online bloggers. These internet pages promise to reveal the magic sentence but usually just try to sell you a book or a guide. Moreover, John Ulzheimer also wrote a book named “Credit Secrets” and the book also doesn’t have any 11-word phrase that gets collectors off your back.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t make your own 11-word phrase. You could produce something to stop debt collectors and the simplest way to stop a debt collector is to pay them. If the debt collector calls you then you can say this 11-word phrase –
“I agree to pay x amount and have enclosed a cheque”
If you don’t want to pay the debt now but want to stop the phone calls then you can use this 11-word phrase –
“I demand you only contact me in writing and stop calling”
If you can claim the debt is statute-barred like debt collector is contacting after 6 years then you can use this 11-word phrase –
“This debt is more than 6 years old and statute-barred”
Another way to stop the debt collectors is to claim that the debt is ‘unaffordable lending.’ You can use this 11-word phrase –
“This debt is proven unaffordable and I am making a complaint”
What Is The Law About Calls From Debt Collectors?
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) works as a shield to protect the rights of creditors. It defines the legal ways that can be used for debt collection. The two important sections regarding calls from debt collectors are –
§ 805. Communication in connection with debt collection
§ 806. Harassment or abuse
§ 805. Communication In Connection With Debt Collection
Communication With The Consumer Generally
Without the prior consent of the consumer given directly to the debt collector or the express permission of a court of competent jurisdiction, a debt collector may not communicate with a consumer in connection with the collection of any debt —
(1) At any unusual time or place or a time or place known or which should be known to be inconvenient to the consumer. In the absence of knowledge of circumstances to the contrary, a debt collector shall assume that the convenient time for communicating with a consumer is after 8 o’clock antemeridian and before 9 o’clock postmeridian, local time at the consumer’s location;
(2) If the debt collector knows the consumer is represented by an attorney with respect to such debt and has knowledge of, or can readily ascertain, such attorney’s name and address, unless the attorney fails to respond within a reasonable period of time to a communication from the debt collector or unless the attorney consents to direct communication with the consumer; or
(3) 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.
(b) Communication With Third Parties
Except as provided in section 1692b of this title, without the prior consent of the consumer given directly to the debt collector, or the express permission of a court of competent jurisdiction, or as reasonably necessary to effectuate a post-judgment judicial remedy, a debt collector may not communicate, in connection with the collection of any debt, with any person other than the consumer, his attorney, a consumer reporting agency if otherwise permitted by law, the creditor, the attorney of the creditor, or the attorney of the debt collector.
§ 806. Harassment Or Abuse
A debt collector may not engage in any conduct the natural consequence of which is to harass, oppress, or abuse any person in connection with the collection of a debt. Without limiting the general application of the foregoing, the following conduct is a violation of this section:
(1) The use or threat of use of violence or other criminal means to harm the physical person, reputation, or property of any person.
(2) The use of obscene or profane language or language the natural consequence of which is to abuse the hearer or reader.
(3) The publication of a list of consumers who allegedly refuse to pay debts, except to a consumer reporting agency or to persons meeting the requirements of section 1681a(f) or 1681b(3)1 of this title.
(4) The advertisement for the sale of any debt to coerce payment of the debt.
(5) Causing a telephone to ring or engaging any person in telephone conversation repeatedly or continuously with intent to annoy, abuse, or harass any person at the called number.
(6) Except as provided in section 1692b of this title, the placement of telephone calls without meaningful disclosure of the caller’s identity.
How To Stop Debt Collection Call?
Apart from using the 11-word phrase, you can also stop debt collection calls in many other ways. Moreover, you can also hire a professional to handle your debts and contact the collectors on your behalf. Stopping communication with the collector won’t solve your debt problem therefore you have to find an ideal solution. If the debt collectors relentlessly call you then try to negotiate the terms of your debt. Moreover, you should try to pay all your debts in time and it is the most obvious way to stop the calls. You also have the right to ask the debt collectors to stop calling you and instead send you formal written letters/notices. You have to write a “cease and desist” letter for your request to stop the phone calls.
Stop Debt Collection Calls At Work
Usually, it is very frustrating to see the phone calls of debt collectors on personal phones and it became worse if the calls come to work as well. You should know that debt collectors are not allowed to call on the workplaces of the borrower. So, if they call you at your workplace then you have legal rights to tell them to stop. You can notify the collector by writing that collection calls are forbidden at your place of employment and because of their calls you might lose your job. Once the debt collectors receive the notice they will stop calling at your workplace.
How To Stop Debt Collector’s Call At Wrong Numbers?
It’s very common that debt collectors to make mistakes and call the wrong number over and over again. Sometimes, bad people use other people’s numbers to open a new debt account. So if you become a victim of calling about a debt that’s not yours then you can easily stop that call. Here are some effective tips –
1. Receive the phone and gently explain to the caller that you are not the right person that they are looking or calling
2. Explain to the caller that this is not the right number or they are calling the wrong number
3. Send a cease and desist letter to request stop calling again
4. If the debt collectors continue to call you then file a complaint with the FTC
FAQs About 11 Word Phrase To Stop Debt Collectors
1. How Many Calls From A Debt Collector Are Considered Harassment?
There is no specific number defined by Federal law about debt collection phone calls that will be considered as harassment. However, a debt collector is forbidden to call the borrower repeatedly or continuously to annoy, abuse, or harass the creditor. Moreover, the creditor has the right to tell the debt collector to stop calling them.
2. Can I Tell A Collection Agency To Stop Calling?
Yes, you can tell a collection agency to stop calling you. In fact, under the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), you have the legal right to ask the debt collector to stop calling you.
3. Why You Should Never Pay A Collection Agency?
If you pay an outstanding loan to a debt collection agency then it can badly hurt your credit score. Therefore, you should never pay a collection agency.
4. What Happens If You Never Answer Debt Collectors?
Stop communicating with the debt collectors might lend you some legal problems. If you continue to ignore the phone calls or other communication methods of the debt collectors then they might file a collections lawsuit against you in court. And, if you also ignore the lawsuit then the debt collection company will get a default judgment against you.
5. Can Debt Collectors Go After Family?
No, debt collectors can’t go after your family. In fact, by Federal law, debt collectors are not allowed to threaten or use physical force of any kind to you, your family, or any third party connected with you. If they do, then you can take legal action against them.
Last Updated on October 19, 2022 by Magalie D.
Magalie D. is a Diploma holder in Public Administration & Management from McGill University of Canada. She shares management tips here in MGTBlog when she has nothing to do and gets some free time after working in a multinational company at Toronto.