Attn: [Collector], Re: [Your name], [Account #] Dear [Collector]: For the past three months I have received several phone calls and letters from you concerning an overdue [Creditor's name] account. This is my formal notice to you, under Title 15 United States Code Section 1692c, to cease all further communications with me except for the reasons specifically set forth in the federal law. This letter is not meant in any way to be an acknowledgment that I owe this money. Very truly yours, [Your name]The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act has some enforcement teeth, including stiff fines payable to the victim, and attorneys' fees. Unfortunately, it's sometimes hard to put together a case. The best approach is to start recording your calls, which is okay as long as you tell them you are doing it. This alone may chase them off, but if they are so brazen as to continue calling you after you have told them not to, and they talk for the benefit of the recorder, you may have a good case to take to a lawyer for follow-up. Unfortunately, the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act doesn't apply to the original creditor, and when creditors own their own collection agencies, as some of the big ones do, the line is gray regarding the federal law's applicability. Also, there are some collectors that aggressively push the envelope in their collection activities and frequently violate your rights under the Act. Nevertheless, many states have similar laws that do apply to the original creditor and the almost universal effect of a letter such as the one I've described above is to stop the harassment, regardless of whether it is the creditor or a collector who is making the calls.
To learn more about dealing with creditors, see Solve Your Money Troubles: Debt, Credit & Bankruptcy, by Robin Leonard and Margaret Reiter (Nolo), which includes all-new sample letters to creditors which reflect changing financial times.