If your creditor has sold your debt to a 3rd party debt collector, you are undoubtedly going to be contacted by phone. Debt collectors can be ruthless in their efforts to secure the money owed to them, continuously calling and using various threats to do so. Some debtors opt to ignore these harassing phone calls, but that is almost never the best course of action to take, even if the calls are aggressive and uncomfortable. What is the best way to deal with phone harassment about my debts?
Determine if the Debt is Yours
The first thing you have to do is to determine if the debt is genuine. This is an important step for a number of reasons. Firstly, it’s common for the ownership of a debt to switch hands multiple times between creditors and 3rd party debt collectors. This means contact information could get garbled, and you could be getting calls for a debt that doesn’t belong to you. If you’re unsure, you can send a written request for the verifications of the debt. It’s your right to do so.
More seriously, a debt that might not appear to be yours could in fact be an indication that you are the victim of identity theft! If you look into it and find the debt to be legitimately yours, and it isn’t one you incurred yourself, you need to take action immediately to prevent further harm to your credit.
Halt Phone Harassment
If you determine that the debt you are getting calls for is in fact yours, the next step you should take is send a cease and desist letter. By law, debt collectors must honor your request, so it’s worth it to formally send one if your life is being interrupted by constant contact with the agency.
There are two types of cease and desist letters you can send. The first asks the debt collector to cease all communication with you entirely, which many people opt for. The second requests the collectors only contact you through written means, including letters, and in some cases e-mails. If the debt collector do not honor your request, then they are violating the law, and you can report them to the Federal Trade Commission.
This process may seem too good to be true, but it’s not. It’s part of the Fair Debt Collection Practice Act (FDCPA), which was created specifically for protecting the rights of debtors like you. You can read more about the FDCPA here for more information: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre27.pdf
Choosing To Ignore Phone Harassment Regarding Your Debt
Still, some people find it best to try and put off dealing with debt collectors. This is often not a wise move. In some states, creditors can take legal action against you. If the courts side with your creditors, they can legally freeze your bank accounts until some payment option is worked out. Furthermore, they can even garnish up to 10% of your wages from each paycheck! The best course of action is to face your debt head on before it ever reaches this point. There are other forms of bill collection harassment protection that you can take, and ignoring the problem is never the right option.
What’s the Best Option for Dealing with Phone Harassment?
Of course the answer to this question relies mostly on your particular circumstances. Often times however, Debt Consolidation can be the best route for debtors having trouble getting out of debt. It’s possible to group all your debts into one big loan with lower monthly payments, and halt those dreadful harassment calls. I hope that you have not been a victim of phone harassment.
If you hear of anyone that has been a victim ensure you are compassionate towards them as we do not know all the circumstances regarding their situation.