How To: Get Creditors Off Your Back
While on the road, it can be difficult to stay on top of your bills. If you, like many people, have fallen behind on your bills at one time or another – you may be able to find some relief from persistent creditors here.
Dealing with debt collectors can be a stressful situation. Creditors are persistent – often calling at unreasonable hours to remind their debtors of seemingly impossible financial burdens that they’re more than likely already well aware of. Interruptions like this can be detrimental the relaxation that drivers everywhere are desperately trying to achieve during home time. Whether the calls are disturbing the time you’re spending at home, or your spouse the entire time you’re gone – it’s going to get under your skin no matter how the issue gets brought up. Needless to say, the last thing you’re going to want to do in that situation is answer the phone…
However, contrary to popular belief, ignoring the calls is not the solution to the problem. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act provides debtors with some protection from third party collection agencies – this is not to be confused with the original creditor (The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act does not apply to original creditors.). This law protects debtors from being called by creditors at work or at home once the debtor has asked them to stop – the law also specifies that this request needs to be in writing. The appropriate way to request that the creditors stop calling you is as follows: (Remember to treat the creditor you’re speaking to with respect through this process, they’re simply doing their job – which is to collect owed money from the people they’re calling. Not to mention the fact that your polite attitude is more than likely to help you in the long run.)
- Let the creditor know that you cannot make a payment at this time, and request that they no longer contact you by phone. Let them know that if they need to contact you, they have to do it in writing. – The creditor should then agree to file your request.
- If the creditor refuses to file your request, you must then quote the actual law, for example: “The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act requires that you stop phoning me at home and at work once I request that you do so. I intend to send you a certified letter tomorrow putting my no contact request in writing. If you continue to phone me, then I will file a complaint with the FTC and the attorney general.”
- Send your request in the form of a certified letter, which entails a return receipt.
- If the third party debt collector continues to pursue you after you’ve received the receipt from the certified letter, you may be entitled to sue the creditor and collect for damages.
* Please note that after the third party collector has received your request to stop calling, they are still permitted to call you if there has been a change on the status of your account. For example, if the collection agency is forfeiting their collection efforts, turning over your account to an attorney, or they are beginning a lawsuit against you.
This method will stop the phone from ringing, however – it will not fix the problem. The best thing that you can do in this situation if you cannot make payments to the entity you owe is to negotiate with them – don’t ignore the problem long enough to let the issue go the collection agencies. This process is known as debt or credit card settlement. The best part about this process is that there’s help out there. There are a multitude of organizations out there at your disposal to negotiate on your behalf and help you to solve debt situations that have spiraled out of control.
The National Foundation for Credit Counseling | 800.388.2227 can help you to find a helpful agency in your area. We recommend that you chose one that is Better Business Bureau accredited for your own financial safety.