Have you ever had a bill collector call and threaten to take your paycheck or your children? I have a few times and I can't tell you how upsetting it is to have someone harass you day in and day out.
Interestingly enough I have been on BOTH yes BOTH sides of the fence. I have been the debtor and the creditor calling doing the harassing. A few years ago (5 exactly) I worked for a large collection agency. We collected mostly tax money (the worst) and traffic violation payments. Though the government is held to a semi moral standard we still had the ability to brow beat people into paying us. Back then I didn't really understand who I was hurting I just wanted to make my bonus bigger.
Now being on the other side of things its really frustrating to hear stories of people (including my own) dealing with creditors. They can be so nasty and cause stress beyond belief. Some creditors have even talked people into paying bills they don't owe or paying them before they fed their own family. Can you imagine having a $400 credit limit and a foreclosure sign on your door just because of a threatening phone call?? Its the pits and way to many people have dealt with this more than we know.
Today at Divine & Debt Free we are going to share ways of how to FIGHT BACK! Thats right we are going to get those nasty bill collectors off your back once and for all. If your skeptical about these tactics trust me they work because I have used them more than once even!! So lets go.....
1. Hang up on Them - Oh yes this sounds like the most obvious thing to do outside of pretending to speak another language, but it actually works. There should never be a time where they can get you so worked up that you are about ready to hand over every dime in your pocket, EVER!!! If they can't be nice, you can't either.
2. Send a cease and desist letter - according to the FAIR DEBT Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), They must stop contacting you immediately!! However do NOT send this letter via regular mail. It may cost you a few extra bucks to send a letter certified return receipt requested but it is well worth it. They are really good at getting people worked up especially at work and in these difficult economic times that is the last thing we need. Here is a sample letter.....
City, State Zip
Debt Collector’s Name
City, State Zip
Re: Account Number
Dear Debt Collector:
Pursuant to my rights under federal debt collection laws, I am requesting that you cease and desist communication with me, as well as my family and friends, in relation to this and all other alleged debts you claim I owe.
You are hereby notified that if you do not comply with this request, I will immediately file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and the [your state here] Attorney General’s office. Civil and criminal claims will be pursued.Sincerely,
3. Don't answer the phone - I am sure with all the technology today we ALL (99.999%) have caller ID. So why not just block the number or don't answer. Nothing is actually going to happen, other than them calling you back. I wouldn't advise this at work but it works fantastic at home.
4. Sound a bull horn in their ear - I just think this would be absolutely funny to do......
Bill collectors can threaten as much as they would like, most of them don't get around to actually suing on a bad debt until months sometimes years after the delinquency has taken place. If you are struggling with debt I urge you to first take care of what we call the 4 walls FIRST
Yes this means your house payment has to come before you pay ANY CREDIT CARDS!! I know this may not be what some people are used to but this is honestly the best way and it works every time. If you don't have any money to pay creditors after these 4 things are done then oh well we will try again next month after the emergency fund is fully funded (which you don't use to pay them either).
If you are unsure if your wages are going to be garnished or you are having threats of being sued, call your local court house they can check if you have pending law suits against you. Usually a sheriff delivers summons papers for you to sign if you are actually going to be sued.
So now you have the tools to fight back, if you have additional questions or need a little pep talk just let me know!