Here's How to Put a Stop the Collection Calls

Calls from debt collectors can be very annoying. For some, the calls are so bothersome that phone numbers have to be changed or disconnected to stop debt collection calls.

When Can Debt Collectors Call

Don't Worry

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is the Federal law that states what debt collectors can and can't do. For starters, they aren't to call you about a debt that you don't owe. When a debt collector first contacts you about a debt, you have the right to request them to verify the debt is yours. If the debt collector can't come back with proof that you owe the debt, they're not allowed to contact you anymore. DEBT VALIDATION

Even without sending a validation request, debt collectors have certain rules they must follow when it comes to contacting you over the phone. For example, they can't call you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. your local time. They can't call you repeatedly, and they can't call you at anytime you've previously stated is inconvenient. For specific situations timing of debt collector calls check out.

Stop Debt Collection Calls

There's no law that says you have to communicate with a debt collector by phone. If you hang up on a debt collector there is nothing they can do about it. But, if the collector continues to call you repeatedly even after you have hung up on them, they are in violation of the FDCPA.

All you have to do to stop debt collectors from calling you is tell them that you prefer to communicate with them in writing. Written communication works in your favor because it gives you a record of everything that is said. If the debt collector violates the FDCPA, you have hard evidence that could lead to a lawsuit in your favor. Keep in mind that, by law, the debt collector does not have to honor this request.

The surest way to stop debt collectors from calling you is by sending what is known as a cease and desist letter. In the letter, state that the collector should cease and desist further communication with you. Note that the cease and desist letter only applies to debt collectors, not the original creditor.

STOP Collection Calls Free Sample Letter

Can Debt Collectors Contacting You About Someone Else's Debt?

People who've recently changed their phone numbers are often plagued with calls from collectors trying to reach that number's previous owner. You might have this problem even if you've had the same number for years. Unfortunately, telling the debt collector that they have the wrong number may not be enough to stop the calls for good.  If calls persist after the cease and desist letter, report the collector to your state Attorney General and the Federal Trade Commission.

Debt collectors might also contact you trying to locate another person, like a friend or relative. Somehow in their background check, your contact information has been liked to the debtor. The law does allow debt collectors to contact a third-party to get a phone number, address, and employment information, but the collector can only contact a specific third-party once and they can't reveal any information about the debt. A debt collector is violating the law if they continue to contact you for contact information even after you've told them what you know.

What Happens After the Cease and Desist

Once the collection agency receives your cease and desist letter they can communicate with you once more, via mail, letting you know one of three things:

  • that further efforts to collect the debt are terminated,
  • that certain actions may be taken by the debt collector, or
  • that the debt collector is definitely going to take certain actions.

When you send the cease and desist letter to the debt collector, send it via certified mail with return receipt requested. This will provide proof that the letter was sent and received. If the debt collector communicates with you beyond the single instance allowed by law, this evidence will allow you to seek punitive action against the debt collector.

Summary:

Debt collectors earn their money from getting you to pay...period.  If you think they want to play fairly or show sympathy for your situation, well, as the saying goes...WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE!!!

You do not have to put up with Debt Collector Abuse, so  take action.

Finally, get help!  You don't have to "go-it-alone"!

 

Photo credit: www.flickr.com/photos/kitby/4883787012/

Tags: fair debt collection practices act, debt collection harassment, how to stop collection calls, dealing with debt collectors, debt, debt collection in oregon

Wage Garnishment in Oregon...How to Stop

Here's some very helpful tips on how to put a stop to wage garnishment in Oregon.

First you must understand that a debt collector cannot simply be awarded a wage garnishment for unsecured debts without first having gone through the legal process:

  • File a claim in your county courthouse
  • A SUMMONS is delivered to you
  • Default judgment is awarded if no settlement can be reached
  • Apply for a Writ of Garnishment

OK, you've been having a very challenging time, financially due to circumstances beyond your control, such as:

  • Loss of employment
  • Divorce
  • Death in the family
  • Illness
  • Fixed income of retirement
  • Disability

Although you have done your best to try and keep up with your minimum payments, a couple of your accounts have been turned over to a COLLECTION AGENCY, and they have been calling day and night...driving you nuts!

YOU CAN PUT A STOP TO THIS:

 

STOP Collection Calls Free Sample Letter

DON'T IGNORE THE COLLECTION LETTERS

Most debt collectors and debt collection agencies are willing to work out a repayment and/or settlement of the debt you owe.

Having said, "...you owe...", let's make sure that you really do owe the debt before you pay for something you shouldn't.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act allows a debtor who feels that they do not owe the debt claimed by the creditor/collector to require a DEBT VALIDATION.

After you write a letter demanding that the debt collector validate the debt, they must not only stop collection activity (calls, letters, etc.), but provide you with proof that the debt is legitimate.

Some debt collectors are actually "debt purchasers", who buy lists of so-called debts at pennies-on-the-dollar, hoping to get someone to pay who may or may not actually owe the debt.

Here's a FREE Sample Letter for you to use:

FREE GUIDE to

One more thing about making sure you actually owe this debt:

Make sure the STAUTE OF LIMITATIONS for you state has not expired.

For example, in my home state, Oregon, the statue of limitations on unsecured debt is 6 years.  This means that if there has been no payments on this account for over 6 years, the debt must be removed from all credit reporting agencies and cannot be collected on any more!

So, now that you have determined if the debt is legitimately yours, it's time to contact the debt collector.

Prepare yourself for a small battle on this!  These are professional debt collectors and they are usually paid a percentage of what they can get you to pay.

Tell them you intend to pay the debt, but you just don't have anything now.

Don't let them trick you into paying just a little bit ($25 or so) "to keep the account in this office" or "to keep the account from going to the legal department".  If the account has passed statute of limitations, that "little payment", could reset the clock!!!

But, for the sake of this blog, Wage Garnishment in Oregon...How to Stop, if you have received notice of a wage garnishment, here's what you can do:

Your employer has no choice but to comply with a WRIT OF GARNISHMENT.  If they ignore it or do not reply, they could receive a hefty fine!

But, make sure that you are making enough money to qualify for a garnishment!  In Oregon, if you take home income is about $850-$900 or so, they you cannot be garnished.

Here's the Oregon site that will help.

Just make sure your employer is aware of the exemption limits.

By the way, if you are receiving certain types of income, these cannot be garnished.

Basically, all retirement income, social security, disiability income, etc. is exempt. 

Check out the complete list here.

But if your income is not exempt, then to put a stop to a wage garnishment, you must contact the debt collector and/or attorney for the debt collector and arrange a STIPULATED AGREEMENT.  

You will need to be prepared to demonstrate to the debt collector or attorney that you are in a very bad financial situation and the wage garnishment will force you into bankruptcy unless they agree to a stipulated agreement.

Prepare a basic household budget showing all of your income and expenditures.  You may have to provide a couple of months of bank account statements and maybe a pay stub or two.

But if you can demonstrate how bad things are, they may be willing to enter into a stipulated agreement.

Now, if by chance you could find a large lump sum, say 50% -75% of the balance, they may and most likely, will take that as a settlement and release the judgment.

I know, but maybe you have someone who could help...just asking.

Of course, if you get the Stipulated Agreement or Settlement Agreement, make sure to get it in writing!

The real key to stopping a wage garnishment in Oregon or any state for that matter is to be pro-active.  Don't just ignore the letters and especially don't ignore the summons.

In most cases, a debt collector will be willing to work with you.

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: credit card debt, debt collectors, debt validation, how to stop collection calls, credit repair, how to prevent wage garnishment, how to stop a wage garnishment, credit reporting agencies

Do It Yourself Debt Settlement

It is possible to settle your debts on your own, but you need to prepare yourself for dealing with debt collectors!woman-worried-debt-pressure

Here's some tips for Do It Yourself Debt Settlement:

If you have tried unsuccessfully to keep up with all of the required, minimum payments on your unsecured debt, then you should definitely consider Debt Settlement.

Although I have been helping people deal with the financial pressure of having too much debt for over 10 years now, and have helped hundreds of people settle their debts, I do believe it is possible for someone to settle debts on their own, but you need to "buckle up for a bumpy ride!"

You need to be prepared to spend a lot of time (many times very frustrating, emotionally) dealing with professionally trained debt collectors. 

These debt collectors are usually paid a commission or percentage of how much they can get from you, so you know they are not going to give in, willingly!

My point is that you need to understand that the Debt Collection Industry and Debt Collectors specifically are in business to make a profit and they are not going to settle without using every method (legal and border-line legal) to get you to pay as much as possible.

Since you are considering trying to settle your debts for less than the full balance you owe, I'm guessing that you fit one or more of the following criteria:

  • You have been laid off or lost a job, and therefore your income has been dramatically reduced.
  • You may have had a loved one or spouse become extremely ill or possible die which affected your ability to work.
  • Divorce is usually a financial challenge.
  • A long term or permanent disability will not allow you to earn what you used to earn.
  • Retirement on a fixed income that is barely or not able to keep up with the bills.

But, if you are ready to give it a try, then here's some tips to help:

Understand the basic debt collection process.

Typically, when an unsecured account (not a "secured loan", which is backed by property or other collateral) becomes delinquent, it is usually charged off and turned over or sold to a debt collector.

This debt collector may be an attorney/law firm, that specializes in the collection of debt.

It takes time for a delinquent account to be considered for a settlement. 

Most debt collectors will not consider a settlement until the account has gone 120 - 180 days without any payments.  By the way, please be wary of a HARDSHIP PROGRAM the creditor offers!  Usually, they only barely pay the interest and ultimately you will have to start repaying the payments as before!  Basically, you are just delaying the inevitable of having to repay 100% of the debt you owe with interest.

The best settlements are usually negotiated when you have a lump sum or one-time payment saved up to offer.

After you have carefully prepared a BASIC HOUSEHOLD BUDGET, and know exactly what you can set aside each month to go towards negotiating a settlement, you must be very consistent and disciplined to actually put that money aside.

Set a goal of being able to offer at least 25% - 50% of the balance on at least one of your accounts. 

You'll also find out that the smaller the balance, the harder it is to get a decent settlement reduction!  The debt collector believes that if you ow $300 - $500 or so, then you should be able to come up with $200 -$400 and they may give you up to 6 months to do it!

However, if you owe $5,000, then they may be willing to take a settlement of 50% or less as you are a risk of seeking bankruptcy protection on larger amounts of debt.

Don't answer the phone unless you know who it is!

If they haven't started calling several times a day, they will!

I'll show you how to stop the calls in a minute, but in the meantime, DON'T ANSWER THE PHONE, unless you know who it is.

Debt collectors are trained to intimidate and get you to pay! PERIOD!  If they can engage you in a conversation, they will try to use what you reveal to help them collect more money!

Suppose you have realtives that may be able to help you. DO NOT SAY ANYTHING ABOUT THAT! 

They need to think that you are really in financial trouble and that if settlements cannot be negotiated, then you will be forced into bankruptcy.

I'm not advocating lying, but just don't say too much! It's OK to briefly...I said BRIEFLY, explaine your financial hardship, but don't go into too much detail.  You may think it helps, but it doesn't.

You can put a stop to the collection calls.

You will need to write a letter to each collector demanding that they stop calling you.

For a FREE SAMPLE LETTER, CLICK BELOW:

STOP Collection Calls Free Sample Letter

You'll usually get better settlements during the last week of the month and toward the last week of a quarter.

Debt collectors have their budgets and target collection numbers to meet and are usually a little more willing to deal as the end of the month or quarter is getting close.

Always ask the debt collector what is the best settlement they can offer you.  Remebmer, in negotiating, usually the one who mentions a dollar amount first, loses!

When you finally agree on a settlement, GET THE AGREEMENT IN WRITING!

Don't trust a phone conversation, period! If they will not email, fax or mail the agreement, then you don't have a legitimate, professional debt collector...move on!

Make a copy of the check you mail and keep the agreement.

I've seen several cases over the years when a debt that had been settled a long time ago, showed up again at another debt collector's company.  These are usually debt buyers and have purchased a list of debts for pennies on the dollar.

Many of these so-called "debts" have no paper trail to substantiate or prove that the debt is legitimate.

Providing the settlement agreement and copy of the canceled (they cashed your check) check is proof enough that this debt had been settled.

One final thing...

Depending on your situation, you may be able to have a debt canceled and/or removed from your credit report if the debt collector cannot VALIDATE the legitimacy of the debt!

If you feel like you paid the debt off years ago, but have no proof, try sending a VALIDATION LETTER.  The debt collector must stop collection activity and provide proof that you really owe the debt. This will help:

FREE GUIDE to

OK, so there you go!  If you are persistent and follow through, it is certainly possible for you to settle your debts on your own.

But, as you can see, Do It Yourself Debt Settlement can and will be very TIME CONSUMING and challenging. 

If you try to settle your debts on your own and are unsuccessful or tired of the process, let us help.

 


 

 

Tags: debt collection, debt settlement, how to stop collection calls, debt relief in Portland Oregon, do it yourself debt settlement, hardship programs

Put a Stop to Debt Collection Calls!

Annoyed with debt collector calls? 

Here is how to Put a Stop to Debt Collection Calls

Anyone that has had financial troubles and fallen behind in there payments to creditors understands just how frustrating and annoying those calls from debt collectors can be.

Not only are they annoying, but embarrassing as well!

Who wants to hear, "Dad, some guy calling about your credit card bill!"

help-stop-debt-collector-callsDebt collectors are paid to get you to pay up.

They are (for the most part) trained professionals who will use every trick in the book to get you to pay.

Most abide by the law spelled out in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, but many do not.

First, it is important for you to know the basics of what a debt collector can and cannot do:

A debt collector cannot call you at all hours of the day.  They cannot call before 8:00 AM or after 9:00 PM.

They cannot call you at work if they are told by phone or in writing not to call you there!

A debt collector can call family or friends to inquire about your whereabouts, but the are prohibited from discussing your debts.

What debt collectors CAN'T do:

OK, so you want to put a STOP TO COLLECTION CALLS:

You will need to write a short, legible letter that demands that the debt collector stop calling you immediately.

Although you want to be authoritative, you don't want to be rude or use language you may regret latter.

Remember, most likely, you owe the debt and would like to SETTLE THE DEBT, one of these days.

Located in Portland, Oregon, we have been helping clients stop receiving debt collection calls for over 10 years.

To receive a copy of the letter we use, click below:

STOP Collection Calls Free Sample Letter

Once you have the letter written, you should send it by CERTIFIED MAIL with a RETURN RECEIPT.

This way, you have proof that not only did you mail the letter, but they received it.

WHAT IF Debt Collectors KEEP CALLING????

If the calls don't stop, write down the date, time and try to get name of the person calling.

You will need this later to file a complaint.

You have the right to sue a debt collector in a state or federal court.  You can contact your state's attorney general's office to file a complaint. If successful, you may be awarded up to $1,000 per violation!

To file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, click here.

Each state has it's own site, and/or method to file a complaint.

For example, if you live in Oregon, click here to file a complaint.


That should do it, but if you would like more information about how to Stop Debt Collectors or would like to know how a debt settlement program could help you, click below:

FREE EBook Debt Settlement  Basics


Tags: debt collection, fair debt collection practices act, federal trade commission, debt settlement, how to stop collection calls, dealing with debt collectors, debt settlement in oregon, debt relief in Portland Oregon

How to Stop Illegal Debt Collection Practices

how to stop illegal debt collectionGetting several calls from harassing debt collectors?

Here are a few tips on how to stop illegal debt collection practices:

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) prohibits debt collectors from using illegal, abusive or deceptive practices to collect money!

You need to know your rights and what to do if you think they have been violated.

The FDCPA is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or the Federal Bureau of Consumer Protection.  They have a very helpful website that would be worth your time to visit.

The FDCPA covers all personal or family debts including:

  • Credit Cards
  • Auto loans
  • Medical Bills
  • Mortgages
  • Personal Bank Loans
  • Store Cards
  • Pay Day Loans
  • Private Student Loans

A debt collector CANNOT CALL YOU AT ANY TIME OR PLACE! They can only call between 8am (your time) and 9pm (your time).

Collectors may not contact you at work after they are told (by phone or in writing) that you are not allowed to receive calls at work!

A debt collector cannot “harass” you.  Now, harassment can take many forms, but specifically, a debt collector is prohibited from:

  • Using threats of violence or harm
  • Using obscene or profane language
  • Making many, many calls per day (if you are getting several calls, keep a log for future reference)
  • Making false statements:
    • Claiming to be attorneys if they are not
    • Claiming to be a government representative
    • Claim that you will go to jail
    • Claim that they are going to pursue legal action (if in fact they do not)
    • Make false claims of the amount you owe
    • Threaten to garnish your wages or sell property to pay your debt

The first time a collector or creditor calls, talk with them.  Don't get angry or yell at them, but be strong and don't act weak.  Simply explain your situation and ask them to give you some time.  

To stop future calls, send a letter that states that you intend to repay the debt, but cannot at this time due to (reason for hardship).  Request that they stop calling you immediately or that you will file a complaint with your state’s attorney general’s office and the Federal Trade Commission.

Send the letter by registered mail and keep the receipt that they received it.

The calls should stop, and if they don’t, follow through with your report of collection abuse! The worst thing you can do when you are behind on your payments is to ignore them.

You may be able to Settle Your Debts

If your debts are behind 3,4 or 5 months or more, you may be able to negotiate a settlement for less than you owe!

For example let's say that you have a delinquent credit card with a balance of $5,000.  Unfortunately, you are unemployed or have some other financial hardship, so you just can't keep up with the minimum payments.

  • It may be possible to negotiate a one-time settlement of 50% or less of what you owe.
  • If the collector or creditor agrees, GET THE AGREEMENT IN WRITING before making a payment!
  • If you do not have a lump sum (most people don’t), you may be able to negotiate a settlement paid over several months.

We arranged term payment settlements all the time, some as long as 24 months!

If all of this just sounds like too much for you to handle, let us help.

how to stop illegal debt collection

 

Tags: fair debt collection practices act, fdcpa, how to stop collection calls, debt collector harassment

How to Avoid paying Taxes after receiving a 1099-C

avoid paying taxes after recieving a 1099cIf you have had a debt "forgiven", and receive a 1099-C, how do you avoid paying taxes?

Any amount of "forgiveness" over $600 can be reported to the IRS and if so, then you would receive a 1099-C form.  The IRS says that any debt that is settled for less than the full balance must be included back into your income and you must pay the resulting taxes!

Instructions from the IRS can be found in IRS 4681.

In the instructions, you will find an explanation of "INSOLVENCY".  Of course, when reading anything from the IRS, it is not very easy to understand or interpret.

Basically, the information states that if at the time of the forgiveness, you were INSOLVENT, then the amount of forgiveness IS NOT INCLUDED as additional income and therefore you would not pay any additional tax.

Let's look at an example:

After many harassing phone calls from your creditor, you are able to settle your account for less than the balance.  When it came time to file your taxes, you receive a 1099-C which would lists the debt, the debtor and the amount that was "forgiven".

What do you do now that you have received a 1099-C?

First you need to determine if you were INSOLVENT at the time the debt was forgiven. To determine if you were insolvent :

1.  List all of you assets (things you own that has positive equity):

  • Equity of your home
  • Net (depreciated) value of your cars, boat, etc.
  • Net value of jewelery, stocks, bonds, etc.
  • Savings or investment accounts
  • Cash in the bank

2.  List all of the debt you had at the time of forgiveness:

  • Mortgage (1st and 2nd)
  • Auto, boat or other loans
  • Credit card debt
  • Medical debt
  • Personal loans to...

3.  Now subtract your LIABILITIES (that's all the debt) from your ASSETS.

Is the result a NEGATIVE number?  If so, you WERE INSOLVENT!

When filing you tax return, you will need to complete IRS form 982 and submit with your tax return.  Most accountants and/or tax preparers are not aware of the exceptions to paying tax on "forgiven" debt, so you need to be very careful.

Although we are not attorneys nor tax accountants, we can help guide you through the process.

If you would like a FREE CONSULTATION, just let us know.

BOTTOM LINE...DON'T PAY ANY MORE TAX THAN YOU ARE LEGALLY REQUIRED...IT'S YOUR MONEY AFTER ALL!!!

 

 photo by: MoneyBlogNewz

Tags: how to avoid paying tax on forgiven debt, how to stop collection calls, 1099-C, additional taxes

Can A Debt Collector Call Me at Work?

Can a debt collector call me at work?

Creditors are notorious for violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).  This LAW is supposed to protect consumers from unscrupulous and ILLEGAL debt collection activity!  However, most consumers are unaware of their RIGHTS UNDER THE LAW and are intimidated.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has very good information that every consumers should understand.  Click her for a FREE GUIDE FOR CONSUMERS.

can a debt collector call me at workA debt collector is PROHIBITED from calling you at work IF they have been told (orally or in writing) that you are not allowed to receive calls at work.  If you are getting calls at work, here's what you need to do to STOP THE CALLS.

  1. Write a letter demanding them to stop contacting you at home or at work.
  2. Send the letter by registered mail so that you have proof that the collector received it. (pay for a "return receipt")
  3. Make a copy of your letter. 

Once the collector receives your letter, they may not contact you again, with two exceptions:

  • A collector can contact you to tell you there will be no further contact or
  • A collector can contact you to let you know that they or the creditor intend to take a specific action, like filing a lawsuit.

If they continue to call, you can report their ILLEGAL ACTIVITY to your state's Attorey Generals office.

Did you know? A debt collector in prohibited from:

  • Calling before 8am or after 9pm at night.
  • Using harassment such as making threats, using obscene language or repeatedly calling many times a day.
  • Making false claims such as claiming to be an attorney or government representative.
  • Misrepresenting the amount you owe.
  • Making false statements.  (They cannot say that you will "go to jail" or "be arrested" or even claim to take legal action if in fact, they do not do so.)

If you have been receiving collections calls and would like help with stopping the calls and eliminating the debt once and for all, our Solutions Specialist are here to help.  Give us a call at 877-492-4109 or click on the link below!




Tags: fair debt collection practices act, debt collectors, how to stop collection calls, can a debt collector call me at work

DEBT COLLECTOR HARASSMENT: This Time They Went TOO Far!

debt collector harrassmentDebt collector harassment can make your life miserable!

I read an article today from the Oreonian entiltled "Eugene woman sues after bill collector sends cops to house".

You can click on the link above to get the complete story, but here's a summary:

  • Retired, 85 year old woman got behind on her Wells Fargo Mastercard
  • Wells Fargo turned the account over to a collector
  • Collector repeatedly calls and harasses her
  • Collector uses one of the cruelist, unprofession and I think, illegal tactics that I've ever heard of.  He calls the police and tells them she is suicidal and of course they come to her house.
  • As a result, they "forcibly" took her to an emergency room with a warning not to leave (according to the claim)
  • Now she has additional medical bills from the fiasco!

I do not know what prompted the collectors action.  Hopefully, the lawsuit will sort this all out.

But, are you serious?  Can a debt collector harass a senior citizen to the point of possible suicide and not suffer severe consequenses? 

It seems so...but we have rights.  Hopefully her lawsuit will help.

The Fair Debt Collection Practice Act  is the law about what a collector can and cannot do, and in my opinion, this collector has violated the law.

According to the FDCPA, these are practices that are off limits for debt collectors?

Harassment

Debt collectors may not harass, oppress, or abuse you or any third parties they contact. For example, they may not:

  • use threats of violence or harm;
  • publish a list of names of people who refuse to pay their debts (but they can give this information to the credit reporting companies);
  • use obscene or profane language; or
  • repeatedly use the phone to annoy someone.

False statements

Debt collectors may not lie when they are trying to collect a debt. For example, they may not:

  • falsely claim that they are attorneys or government representatives;
  • falsely claim that you have committed a crime;
  • falsely represent that they operate or work for a credit reporting company;
  • misrepresent the amount you owe;
  • indicate that papers they send you are legal forms if they aren’t; or
  • indicate that papers they send to you aren’t legal forms if they are.

Debt collectors also are prohibited from saying:

  • you will be arrested if you don’t pay your debt;
  • they’ll seize, garnish, attach, or sell your property or wages unless they are permitted by law to take the action and intend to do so; or
  • legal action will be taken against you, if doing so would be illegal or if they don’t intend to take the action.

Debt collectors may not:

  • give false credit information about you to anyone, including a credit reporting company;
  • send you anything that looks like an official document from a court or government agency if it isn’t; or
  • use a false company name.

Unfair practices

Debt collectors may not engage in unfair practices when they try to collect a debt. For example, they may not:

  • try to collect any interest, fee, or other charge on top of the amount you owe unless the contract that created your debt – or your state law allows the charge;
  • deposit a post-dated check early
  • take or threaten to take your property unless it can be done legally
  • contact you by postcard.

If you or someone you know (especially a senior citizen) is receiving harassing calls and/or illegal activity from a debt collector, you have options:

           In Oregon, Click Here:

 

debt collector harassment

 

 photo by: BLW Photography

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: fair debt collection practices act, fdcpa, debt collection harassment, how to stop collection calls

How to Stop Collection Calls

how to stop collection calls

If you have fallen behind on your credit card payments, you know just how annoying the debt collector calls can be. Some people are so bothered by creditor calls that they change their phone number or even disconnect their phone to get some peace and quiet. 

Although your creditors have the right to attempt to collect an unpaid debt, a creditor must do this within the limitations for the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCP).


A CREDITOR CANNOT:


  • Make frequent or harassing calls!  In other words, they cannot dial you you 10 times a day!
  • Call you at work!  If you are getting calls at work, it could jeapordize your job and your employer will certainly not think well of you!
  • Make threats of legal action without following through!  "If you don't send us money now, we will start a lawsuit against you".  Well, if they say it, they better start it, or you can file a complaint with your state attorney general.
  • Call family or friend and tell them you are  delienquent!  They can call a family member or friend in an attempt to get information about how they can contact you, but they cannot discuss your debt with them or mention your situation in any way!

Download this FREE GUIDE -->

How To Stop Collection Calls

The best way to stop collection calls is to write a letter to the collector stating that you intend to pay your bill, but you cannot at this time.  Tell them that you are giving them legal notice according to the FDCPA to stop calling you immediately or you will report them to the attorney general.

It is best to mail the letter as registered mail so that you have proof that they received it.

After a collector receives the request in writing, they can only call you one more time to state they received it and what their intentions are in the future. If they call you again, it is time to to go online to your state attorney general's site and file a complaint.

You can try to simply fax the letter to the credior.  In most cases this will stop the calls, but legally the creditor does not have to stop without the written request by mail. In some cases, a creditor may honor you request by phone, but this doesn't happen often.

If you are intimidated by collectors, then we can help. Simply click the link below to find out about your options.

 

photo by: Mykl Roventine

Tags: fair debt collection practices act, fdcpa, debt collection harassment, how to stop collection calls

Know your rights when Dealing with Debt Collectors

dealing with debt collectors

Getting behind on bills is a scary position to be in. Dealing with debt collectors is never fun, but the good news is that even if you owe money to a creditor, you still have rights. 

The Fair Debt Collection Practice Act (FDCPA)

It doesn’t matter if the collector works for a collection agency, a corporate collections department, a third party, or is an attorney. The Fair Debt Collection Practice Act covers personal debt such as medical bills, car loans, mortgages, and money owed on credit cards—but it doesn’t cover business debts.

When a debt collector starts the collections process, they need to know where you live, your phone number, and where you work, for instance. They might call a relative or a business, like a utility company, to get the scoop on you. An important rule that’s often violated is that debt collectors may not discuss your debt with anyone other than you, your spouse, or your attorney

You may be surprised to know that a debt collector can’t just ring you up any time they feel like it. They can’t call you before 8:00 am or after 9:00 pm in your time zone. They can’t call you at work if you notify them that you’re not allowed to take calls there. And if you have an attorney who is representing you about your debt, a collector must speak to them, not to you.

How to Dispute a Debt with a Debt Collector

After a debt collector makes initial contact with you, they have to send you a written “validation notice” about your debt within five days. The notice should include the name of the creditor and the amount they believe you owe. If you don’t agree that you owe some or all of the debt, take these four steps to dispute it:

  1. Tell the collector over the phone that you believe there’s an error and ask them to stop contacting you.
  2. Send a letter to the collector, within 30 days after you receive their validation notice, stating that you believe they’re mistaken and to stop contacting you. 
  3. Make a copy of the letter for your files.
  4. Send the original letter by certified mail and pay for a return receipt so you have proof that it was received. 

After they receive your dispute letter, a collector can only contact you to confirm that they won’t be contacting you anymore, or to inform you about a legal action that they’re going to take.

If the debt collector sends you back a written verification of the debt, such as a copy of a credit card bill that you haven’t paid or a promissory note that you signed, then the process starts over and they can contact you again.

Debt collectors are prohibited from harassing you or lying to you.

The following are some examples of what’s not allowed:

  • Calling you repeatedly
  • Threatening to harm you or using profane language
  • Publishing your name as someone who hasn’t paid a debt (except to a credit reporting agency)
  • Misrepresenting their identity, company name, or the amount you owe
  • Telling you that legal action will be taken against you if they don’t intend to do it or if doing so would be illegal
  • Sending you anything that looks like an official government document if it isn’t
  • Depositing a post-dated check early
  • Mailing you a collection notice by postcard 

You can report a debt collector who violates The Fair Debt Collection Practice Act to your state Attorney General’s office and to the Federal Trade Commission. You can also sue a debt collector within one year of a violation. If you win, they’re liable for damages that you can prove, such as lost wages. You could also be reimbursed for your attorney’s fees and court costs. However, winning a case against a collector who violated the law doesn’t erase your debt if you still owe it.

I certainly recommend that you pay all your bills on time. But if you can’t, try to get help before the collectors come calling by communicating directly and honestly with your creditors. They’re more likely to give you favorable treatment when you take the initiative to let them know you’re having a temporary financial setback but that you still plan to pay your debt.

dealing with collectors

Tags: fdcpa, how to stop collection calls, dealing with debt collectors