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  1. #1

    How To Stop Debt Collection Harassment Once and For All

    If you’ve ever been harassed by a debt collector you know that they can be downright nasty. Bothering you at all hours of the day and night, calling your friends and family and telling you what a bad person you are for not paying your debts. The good news is, you don’t have to deal with that kind of abuse. You can stop debt collection harassment once and for all! Just follow the step-by-step process, below to get your collectors in check.

    Know Your Rights!


    Did you know that debt collection harassment violates the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)? Some collection, "tactics" including making false threats, using obscene or profane language and informing your employer you're behind on your bills (to coerce you to pay them out of fear of losing your job) are actually against the law. You’ll want to read and become familiar with the FDCPA. The FDCPA dictates who collectors can call, what they can say and when they can call.

    Speak With the Collector

    Within 5 days of speaking with the collection agency for the first time, the collector must send you a written, “validation notice”. The notice will tell you the name and contact information of the collection agency and the amount of money that their records indicate you owe. Note that it is illegal for the collector to falsely indicate you owe more money than you actually owe. The validation notice must also indicate who to contact if you don’t believe you owe the debt.

    Draft a Letter to the Collection Agency



    If you don’t believe you owe the money requested in the validation letter or would like verification of the debt (proof you owe the debt the agency claims you owe) you must send a letter to the collection agency within 30 days of the collector’s first contact with you. If the collection agency cannot provide any documentation that the debt is owed by you, they must cease communication with you immediately.

    Even if you do owe part or all of the money the collection agency reports that you owe, you can ask the collector to stop contacting you at any time (not just within the 30 days after receiving the “validation notice”).

    Send the, “No Contact” Letter, “Return Receipt Requested”


    Send the original copy of your, “no contact” letter via certified mail to the address listed in the validation notice. The letter doesn't need to be written by an attorney. It can simply state, "Per the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, I'm formally requesting you no longer contact me in any way". You’ll want to ask the postmaster to send the letter with a, return receipt so that you have proof that the letter was received by the debt collection company. After receiving your letter, the collection agency may no longer contact you, except for to indicate the letter was received and/or to tell you that they will be taking legal action against.

    What if the Collector Continues to Harass Me?

    If a collector continues to contact you after you asked them not to (in writing) they are in violation of the FDCPA and you have the right to seek legal recourse. To report harassment that violates the FDCPA you should contact your state Attorney General’s office (naag.org) and the Federal Trade Commission (ftc.gov). You may also want to contact a private attorney for additional help.

  2. How To Stop Debt Collection Harassment Once and For All
  3. #2
    Registered User Junior Member
    Posts
    25

    This does not stop the actual debt collection!

    There's a number of points that need clarification here, point by point:

    "Know your rights" - Absolutely, read those acts and laws and know what is legal and is not for the agency to contact you and how they treat you.

    "Speak with the collector" - This is also correct, they should be letting you know where the debt is from. Do your own research and contact that company directly and verifiy the status of your account and research into if you ever made a payment (online banking, bank statements, check carbon copies, etc). Make sure the debt is in your name, not your former roomate who listed you as a reference and lived with you (personal experience. My roomate Christopher opened a Qwest phone line, I never signed for it and never used it. He moved out and didn't pay the bill after he cancelled. They called stating who they were, the balance and who it was owed to (all violations) and asked if "Chris" were around. I said no, he doesn't live here any more, why are you calling me. They said I was listed as a reference - which was fine - and said maybe "she" thought I was going to pay it. I asked "she" who and they said "Chris your wife". -- These collectors are clueless and will try anything to get anyone to pay, even if the debt is not yours). So, when researching yourself where this debt is, think back to any of those times you thought you paid or ignored something but never got a receipt or zero-balance/paid statement (like when the idiot at Radio Shack entered my address wrong when I applied for a credit card there to buy a computer that day because WoW was just released, and I didn't get a statement for 8 months and didn't think anything of it - I've been there, I've paid my stupid tax and am almost done paying it).

    "Draft a letter to the agency" - This is very dicey and even down-right stupid 99.9% of the time. First off, determine if they are really "harrassing" you. Do you owe the money and they call you every week to get a payment? That's not harrassment, that's telling you to be responsible and pay your debts or work out a plan. Do they call you every day, very early, very late (read the laws to find out if they're violating your rights), do they call your work after being told not to, do they call your family and try to get them to pay, do they use vulgar language and threaten your or verbally abuse you? That's harrassment, and that's also very good... for you. Every violation they commit is ammo for you. Most people have a smart phone, put that thing on speaker, turn on your "voice recorder" app, and state that you're recording this call (if you have to because you're in a two-party consent state - consult a local attorney or review the law) and record EVERY conversation you have with the agency or company. If you have an older phone, you might have an MP3 player or iPod that can record audio through a mic, do that, or buy a recorder. If a relative contacts you because they were called or threatened, note the time and date, ask for the phone record or statement so you have proof. If they can, have them record any future calls as well. EVERYTHING that the agency says they will do or state has been done MUST BE IN WRITING! Request EVERYTHING in writing. If they agree to settle the debt for less, get it in writing from them stating an official offer. If it doesn't spell out EVERY detail you agreed to, DO NOT PAY OR AGREE. Get it in writing perfect, consult an attorney if you want to. Then, send in your CASHIER CHECK (do NOT give them access to your bank account), send a copy of their offer letter, a letter from you stating your agree and here is payment and the details. Send it CERTIFIED MAIL. Verify later with the bank that the cashier check was cashed (you kept the receipt, because losing that would be just stupid). So now the debt is paid and at zero. That's it, right? NO. Keep ALL records, receipts and corresponce... forever... and ever.... amen. I'm serious, buy a safe for the house or safe deposit box and keep it until you die. Zombie debt is real, if someone tries to collect 10 years later (it happens) you have your proof you're in the clear.

    If you send them a "Cease and Desist" or "No Contact" letter, you're telling them "SUE ME". Just because they can't send your any more letters or phone calls, doesn't mean the case is closed and you're free. They can sue you. They can sell the debt and it starts over (10 years later? Zombie Debt?) If you want to send them this letter because of how they are treating you, you should be recording your conversations anyways and you can report them to the government agencies, and you have proof. You can consult an attorney with your evidence and they can help you use it properly. You may be able to use it yourself by calling the agency back and requesting to speak to their attorney or quality control and playing it for them and using it to negociate a settlement (which is in writing, remember?)

    The goal shouldn't be to get out of the debt if you owe it, the goal should be zero-balance. Whether you do that through working extra hours, getting a second job, selling stuff, or settling the debt, a zero-balance will stop the collection (most the time, if it comes up again, you saved all the papers, remember?). Don't let them bully or scare you into paying when you don't have it, you MUST pay for food, clothing, electricity, shelter, and transportation (a reliable car, not that 2013 Escalade you should have never bought and should be selling right now). Save what extra you have to make the agency an offer to settle.

    You should also settle these debts either yourself, or with an actual practicing attorney. Don't waste your time or money on those TV debt reduction scam companies. There's nothing they can do that you can't, or a practicing attorney can't. In fact, I've known a number of instances from people, including my brother, where one took his payments, but never paid MBNA (lol, remember them?). If you do decide to contact a debt reduction or relief firm, make sure it's non-profit that will actually explain things and teach you and prove what they are doing to help.

  4. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Frov View Post
    The goal shouldn't be to get out of the debt if you owe it, the goal should be zero-balance. Whether you do that through working extra hours, getting a second job, selling stuff, or settling the debt, a zero-balance will stop the collection (most the time, if it comes up again, you saved all the papers, remember?). Don't let them bully or scare you into paying when you don't have it, you MUST pay for food, clothing, electricity, shelter, and transportation (a reliable car, not that 2013 Escalade you should have never bought and should be selling right now). Save what extra you have to make the agency an offer to settle.
    I like your big picture approach. It takes a certain mentality or mindset to dig your way out of a large amount of debt, in addition to the things mentioned above it sounds like that is the main point you are trying to make.

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Frov View Post
    Don't waste your time or money on those TV debt reduction scam companies. There's nothing they can do that you can't, or a practicing attorney can't.
    Great point, there are a lot of scammers out there, so doing due diligence, knowing your rights and/or finding a good attorney, if necessary, are smart steps in protecting yourself from harassment.

  6. #5
    Registered User Semi Pro Member
    Posts
    414
    This is all very well said and highlighted for anyone in this position.

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