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What can I do about debt collectors?

Produced by Mariah Jennings-Rampsi, South Coastal Counties Legal Services, with funding from American College of Bankruptcy
Last updated September 2019
  1. Keep a journal of the debt collectors' phone calls.
    Keep a pen and paper by the phone. Each time a debt collector calls, write down the date and time.  Get their name, telephone number, employer, and take some notes on what they said. Keeping a log helps you keep track of how many people are calling you and how often. A log provides a good record of collection abuse. You can use this Debt Collector Tracking Sheet.
  2. Get permission to record the calls you have with a debt collector.
    You might not remember the conversation very well later. Also, some debt collectors might lie about what they said to you. With a recording, you have proof of exactly what was said.

    Note

    You must tell the debt collector you are recording the phone call. In Massachusetts it is a crime to record any conversation secretly. Also, everyone in the conversation must agree to being recorded.

  3. Write a letter to the debt collector. Write to them to tell them to stop harassing you.  If you are collection proof use the collection proof letter. If you are not collection proof use the cease and desist letter.
  4. File a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office.
  5. Talk to an attorney who takes debt collection cases regularly.

You can also look at the Consumer Financail Protection Bureau Toolkit: When Debt Collections Call.

Produced by Mariah Jennings-Rampsi for Volunteer Lawyers Project
Created April 2019

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