Drowning in debt is stressful enough for most people. Whether it may be due to past-due bills, student loans, credit card debt, or a mortgage, having collectors and collection agencies constantly contact you adds a large load to your stress. Most people experiencing calls from agencies will attempt to ignore them, assuming that they have no legal alternatives that may help them. However, this is not the case whatsoever.
Your first step should be to try and address the issue before it becomes an even larger dilemma. While paying off your bills is the ideal way to do this, it is not always possible for those that may be struggling. It is extremely important that you do not simply ignore the issue and hope it goes away- because it most certainly will not.
To avoid having the debt sent to a harassing collection agency, call your creditor and explain your situation. Be upfront and explain that using a collection agency will not enable you to pay your bills faster.
If you are unable to work out a repayment plan with your creditor, your contact information will be given to a collection agency, which employs hundreds of people who do nothing besides constantly calling debtors daily in an attempt to collect.
The truth is, many of these collection agencies come off as stern and harsh, leading most people to feel uncomfortable answering the phone. However, this is the first thing that you need to change. You must enter the mindset that “I WON’T be bullied and pushed around by this debt collector”. Do not lose your temper if the person contacting you is impolite.
Collection agencies are sneaky, and many have no morals when it comes to contacting you. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was passed to protect consumers from collectors by prohibiting certain debt collector behaviors. This law only applies to collection agencies, and not the originating creditor.
- Call you late at night or at unreasonable hours
- Contacting your employer or neighbor(s) about debts (they CAN contact them to get a location, but cannot mention anything about debt)
- Call you at work or call you repeatedly (after you sent a written letter)
- Calling you without identifying themselves
- Falsely stating that the collector represents a government authority
- Falsely stating that your debt may result in arrest, loss of welfare, or child custody issues
- Publish your name
- To view the entire legal document, please click here
Under the law, collection agencies and any of its representatives are required to stop contacting you after receiving a letter requesting that they stop. Be sure to keep a copy of this letter for yourself and mail a copy to the FTC with certified mail and a tracking number through USPS.
Federal Trade Commission
6th & Pennsylvania Ave.,
NW, Washington, DC 20850
After you send the letter, collectors may only contact you to make you aware that they received your letter, to notify you that they will end their efforts, or if they are suing you. If your letter fails to end the harassment, a letter from an attorney definitely will.
The final solution is to file for bankruptcy. Once the initial forms for bankruptcy are filed, you are safe from any collection activity, especially any harassment efforts. You can easily file for bankruptcy with CrediReady.
However, entering bankruptcy is a mammoth decision, as it will impact your credit score for 7-9 years. It should only be implemented if you are in a desperate financial situation and all other avenues of settling your debts are impossible.
In closing, it’s important to remember that this problem will not simply disappear from your life. You must be vigilant and ready to fight for your rights against these creditors and collection agencies.
Be sure to examine all the possibilities and to keep a log with dates and times of all contact with collectors. Be vigilant and write down the name of the collector and also an employee ID number or confirmation number when applicable (you will need to ask for that information).
If you are buried under a mountain of debt and ready for a fresh start, CrediReady can help. Our nationwide network of trusted and experienced lawyers are prepared to give you a FREE bankruptcy consultation to help you. Take a moment to fill out our inquiry form today to speak with your FREE attorney.