At one time or another, everyone is contacted by a collector. It may be due to accidentally missing a payment or misplacing a bill. You may have fallen behind on your credit card payments, your mortgage, or your car payment. You may have experienced a traumatic or unexpected illness that left you buried in medical bills. Regardless of what, when or why, when a creditor’s payment doesn’t arrive, the collector eventually calls. In some situations, collection calls can begin to feel like a concerted attack.
When Creditors Don’t Stop Calling:
If you are receiving constant or harassing collection calls, you can take action to protect your home and family. Your rights as a consumer are protected, and collectors are required to abide by specific rules. For instance, if you are contacted regarding a debt you do not owe, or with an inaccurate amount, write a letter to the collection company and the original creditor stating that you do not agree you owe the debt or explicitly stating that the amount of the debt they are trying to collect is inaccurate, and request a copy of your payment history.
Advising the Credit Reporting Agencies of Debts in Dispute:
If the debt is reported to credit reporting agencies, contact the agencies directly to inform them the debt is in dispute. Make sure to sign and date any correspondence to collectors, creditors, or credit reporting agencies and keep a copy for your records.
When Collectors Refuse to Stop Contacting You:
If the collectors refuse to stop contacting you, you may send a letter requesting they stop collection communications under the terms of the Fair Credit Collection Practices Act. Additionally, bill collectors are forbidden by the Collection Practices Act from calling at inconvenient times (i.e., before 8 am or after 9 pm). They are also not able to communicate with third-parties such as neighbors, co-workers, etc.
Debt Collectors that Take it Too Far Can Face Consequences:
Debt collectors are prohibited from lying to you to obtain payment. They are not to use false, deceptive, or misleading information to collect credit card debt, or any other type of debt. Collectors are prohibited from using or threatening to use violence to collect a debt or use profane language or harassing behavior. If you feel the collection company attempting to collect a debt from you is doing so illegally, obtain proof by logging calls, recording phone calls, putting them on speakerphone so a third party can witness the interaction, etc. Evidence to support your claims will be needed if you decide to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
Stop Debt Collectors in Their Tracks with Bankruptcy:
Constant collection calls, letters, emails, and messages can become an all-consuming barrage of negativity and harassment. While laws exist to govern the behavior of creditors and collection agencies, many collectors do not comply with the law, and regularly engage in illegal practices. While consumers can go through various legal channels to report and attempt to control unlawful collections behavior, some find it more advantageous to take advantage of the automatic stay of bankruptcy. Immediately upon filing, the automatic stay goes into effect, prohibiting all collections activity.
Do you have questions about bankruptcy law and how to stop creditor calls by filing bankruptcy? The experienced Tennessee and Georgia bankruptcy attorneys at Kenneth C. Rannick P.C. can help. We help good people through bad times every day, and we can help you, too.