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How to Get Rid of Debt Collectors Without Paying

How to Get Rid of Debt Collectors Without Paying

by

JG Wentworth

July 9, 2024

9 min

Woman looking stressed while talking to debt collector on phone

The incessant calls, the aggressive letters, the looming threats of legal action – dealing with persistent debt collectors can quickly turn into a nightmare that leaves you feeling helpless and harassed. While paying off the debt may seem like the obvious solution, that’s simply not an option for many cash-strapped consumers struggling to make ends meet. 

If you find yourself drowning in a sea of debt without any lifeline in sight, know that you have rights and options to rid yourself of these relentless collection agencies without necessarily rendering payment. With the right knowledge and strategic maneuvering, you can put a stop to debt collector’s persistent hounding.  

This information is provided for educational and informational purposes only. Such information or materials do not constitute and are not intended to provide legal, accounting, or tax advice and should not be relied on in that respect. We suggest that You consult an attorney, accountant, and/or financial advisor to answer any financial or legal questions.

Understand your rights under federal law 

As a consumer, you are protected by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), a federal law that prohibits debt collectors from engaging in abusive, deceptive, or unfair practices. Familiarizing yourself with these rights is the first step in leveling the playing field and establishing boundaries with overzealous collection agencies. 

Some key FDCPA provisions include: 

  • Debt collectors cannot call you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. 
  • They cannot contact you at work if you’ve instructed them not to. 
  • They are prohibited from using profane language or engaging in harassment. 
  • They must cease communication if you send a written request demanding so. 

Leverage the power of debt validation 

Under the FDCPA, you have the right to demand that the debt collector validate or provide proof that the debt is legitimate and that they have the legal authority to collect it. By sending a debt validation letter within 30 days of initial contact, you can force the collector to substantiate their claims with documentation. 

If they fail to comply or cannot provide sufficient evidence, you may be able to have the debt dismissed entirely. Even if the debt is valid, this tactic can buy you valuable time and potentially reveal errors or violations on the collector’s part. 

Negotiate a pay-for-delete agreement 

While this approach does involve some payment, it’s a strategic way to eliminate the debt from your credit history entirely. A pay-for-delete agreement is a negotiation where you offer to pay a lump sum or settle the debt in exchange for the collection agency removing all negative reporting from your credit files. 

This option is most effective for smaller debts, and it’s crucial to get the agreement in writing before making any payments. A successfully executed pay-for-delete can improve your credit score and provide a fresh start. 

Know when to invoke the statute of limitations 

Every state has a statute of limitations that restricts the timeframe in which a debt collector can sue you for unpaid debts. Once this period has elapsed, the debt is considered “time-barred,” and the collector can no longer threaten legal action or attempt to revive the debt through partial payments. 

However, it’s essential to understand that the statute of limitations varies by state and type of debt, so consulting a legal professional or reputable credit counseling agency is advisable before invoking this defense. 

File a complaint for violations 

If a debt collector has repeatedly violated the FDCPA through harassment, false statements, or other unlawful practices, you have the option to file an official complaint. Depending on the severity of the violations, you may be able to seek monetary damages or have the debt forgiven entirely. 

Complaints can be filed with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), or your state’s Attorney General’s office. Be sure to document all instances of misconduct and retain copies of correspondence as evidence. 

Consider bankruptcy as a last resort 

While bankruptcy should always be a last-ditch effort, it remains a viable option for those drowning in insurmountable debt and facing unrelenting collection efforts. By filing for bankruptcy, you can immediately halt all collection activities through an automatic stay, providing you with the breathing room to reorganize your finances or have eligible debts discharged. 

However, bankruptcy carries significant long-term consequences for your credit score and overall financial well-being, so it’s crucial to weigh all other options and seek guidance from a qualified bankruptcy attorney before pursuing this path. 

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Let JG Wentworth negotiate for you 

Of course, the surefire way of getting rid of debt collectors is getting rid of the debt they are after. If you have $10,000 or more in unsecured debt, you might qualify for our Debt Relief Program. After you enroll and set aside funds, our team of skilled negotiators works with your creditors on your behalf to lower each enrolled debt. * 

As you accumulate money in your program account, we continue to negotiate with your creditors to settle your debts. The money in your program account goes toward paying off the settled debt amount, plus your program fees. We could potentially knock thousands of dollars off your total amount owed! 

Reclaiming some financial peace of mind 

Dealing with debt collectors can be a harrowing experience, but it’s important to remember that you have rights and options at your disposal. By understanding the laws that protect you, negotiating strategically, and being proactive in addressing violations, you can effectively silence the debt collector’s efforts without necessarily paying a cent. 

Ultimately, the key is to remain vigilant, document everything, and never let the debt collector’s tactics intimidate you. With persistence and the right approach, you can reclaim your financial peace of mind and make those pesky collection calls a thing of the past. 

SOURCES CITED 

Batdorf, E., “Statute Of Limitations On Debt Collection By State.” Forbes. October 16, 2022. 

* Program length varies depending on individual situation. Programs are between 24 and 60 months in length. Clients who are able to stay with the program and get all their debt settled realize approximate savings of 43% before our 25% program fee. This is a Debt resolution program provided by JGW Debt Settlement, LLC (“JGW” of “Us”)). JGW offers this program in the following states: AL, AK, AZ, AR, CA, CO, FL, ID, IN, IA, KY, LA, MD, MA, MI, MS, MO, MT, NE, NM, NV, NY, NC, OK, PA, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, DC, and WI. If a consumer residing in CT, GA, HI, IL, KS, ME, NH, NJ, OH, RI, SC and VT contacts Us we may connect them with a law firm that provides debt resolution services in their state. JGW is licensed/registered to provide debt resolution services in states where licensing/registration is required. 

Debt resolution program results will vary by individual situation. As such, debt resolution services are not appropriate for everyone. Not all debts are eligible for enrollment. Not all individuals who enroll complete our program for various reasons, including their ability to save sufficient funds. Savings resulting from successful negotiations may result in tax consequences, please consult with a tax professional regarding these consequences. The use of the debt settlement services and the failure to make payments to creditors: (1) Will likely adversely affect your creditworthiness (credit rating/credit score) and make it harder to obtain credit; (2) May result in your being subject to collections or being sued by creditors or debt collectors; and (3) May increase the amount of money you owe due to the accrual of fees and interest by creditors or debt collectors. Failure to pay your monthly bills in a timely manner will result in increased balances and will harm your credit rating. Not all creditors will agree to reduce principal balance, and they may pursue collection, including lawsuits. JGW’s fees are calculated based on a percentage of the debt enrolled in the program. Read and understand the program agreement prior to enrollment. 

JG Wentworth does not pay or assume any debts or provide legal, financial, tax advice, or credit repair services. You should consult with independent professionals for such advice or services. Please consult with a bankruptcy attorney for information on bankruptcy. 

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