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In recent days, I've had bill collectors calling me about a former room mate of mine, and its getting rather annoying, (he never even lived at this location, or had my phone number). Is there any way I can get this people to leave me alone? I really don't want to get in the middle of my friend's personal business.

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http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre27.pdf if you are in the US

Look at section 805 and 805 about how they may contact you and what they are and aren't allowed to do.

You can simply send a Certified Mail, Return Receipt (CMRR) letter explaining you have no part of it, and that they are not allowed to contact you by any means other than in writing from this point forward.

Then you can either put return to sender on the letters (it costs them money) or open them and delete anything you don't need.

  • 1
    +1 good answer with references. BTW, especially section 804 part 3 is relevant to the question: Acquisition of location information Any debt collector communicating with any person other than the consumer for the purpose of acquiring location information about the consumer shall: ... (3) not communicate with any such person more than once unless requested to do so by such person or unless the debt collector reasonably believes that the earlier response of such person is erroneous or incomplete and that such person now has correct or complete location information ... – Chris W. Rea Dec 30 '09 at 19:02
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I agree about not wanting to get into your friend's personal business, and it's a scummy bill collector that repeatedly calls friends or family to track down a debtor.

On the other hand, at least he's made it obvious he's calling about a debt as opposed to pretending to be tracking down your friend with some other pretext.

Nevertheless, you want the calls to stop. Here are two suggestions:

  1. Perhaps, a small fib: "The creep owes me money too! Grrr! Let me know when you find him!" The bill collector probably won't call you again :-)

  2. Or, if you're like me and uncomfortable fibbing – even to a scummy bill collector! – then here's a more truthful yet direct approach:

    "I told you already it's not my debt, it's none of my business, and that I want you to stop calling me. You have no right to harass me and if you call again I will involve the police. There will be no other warning."

    Then have the phone company block the bill collector's phone number from calling you.

  • And never forget: dishonest collection companies are the worst bottom feeders of humanity. Car salesmen, lawyers, pan handlers and dog catchers are more desirable element of society than a single scumbag bill collector. Not all collectors are dishonest, but lots are and you really have to watch your back against them. – MrChrister Dec 30 '09 at 19:04
  • Unfortunately, speaking from personal experience with a similar situation, neither approach works very well. Neither lying to them nor patiently explaining the situation work at all. They just keep calling. Blocking the number doesn't work because they just call from a different number. – bstpierre Mar 5 '11 at 3:02
  • @bstpierre: I guess the key is to address them in writing. I'm sure there's some regulation agency above them in the US (I'm not in the US) and if they don't react to your letter you can complain to that regulation agency and this will be effective enough. – sharptooth Mar 5 '11 at 6:55
  • @sharptooth: Addressing them in writing works for a little while. The problem is that the account will be sold to another collection agency within a few months, and then you have to start this game all over again. Also, sending those certified/return receipt letters isn't free... – bstpierre Mar 5 '11 at 20:42
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If they really won't stop calling you, just waste their time. Usually the best thing I do to telemarketers (the ones that constantly call even through I've told them to stop) is to say "oh yes, I'm interested I'll just get a pen" - put them on hold and keep them on hold.

Do it every time they call and soon they'll get the idea that you're a waste of time.

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I had a similar situation, except the debtor had no connection to us whatsoever, other than holding our phone number previously.

We tried going through channels to deal with it, and had no success. At the end of the day, I was very abusive to the people calling, and forwarded the number to a very irritating destination.

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