Debt is a double-edged sword. While some debt is good, too much can become an incredibly heavy financial burden. Here’s our guide to the latest creditor harassment laws and how to stop their calls.
Address The Issue Before It Becomes A Problem
First things first, if you have a credit or debt issue you should always try and address it quickly and before it becomes a problem. If you’re able to pay the bill and are simply avoiding the payment because you’re busy or for some reason don’t feel like making the call, you should stop your procrastinating and call immediately.
Putting off paying your bills can result in more fees and or interest payments than you would have had to of paid otherwise. If, on the other hand, you’re avoiding creditors because you don’t currently have the money to pay them back it is important that you don’t ignore the issue and hope it goes away because, trust us, it won’t. In order to avoid having the debt turned over to a collection agency, you should call your creditor and explain that you are unable to pay the bill (and hiring a collection agency won’t help you pay sooner) and tell them when you expect to be able to pay. Hopefully, you will be able to come to a compromise or produce a repayment plan. You’ll be surprised how reasonable people and companies can be if you just stay in touch and show that you’re making an effort.
If You And Your Creditors Can’t Make A Deal
If you are unable to work out a deal with your creditor, and the debt ends up with a harassing collection agency, you should write a letter requesting that the collector stop contacting you. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), debt collection agencies and attorneys must stop contacting you after receiving a letter requesting that they quit. In the letter you can/should also indicate any illegal actions committed by the collector in this letter. We suggest keeping a copy of the letter for your records.
After Your Letter
After you send this letter, collectors may only contact you to acknowledge receipt of the request, to tell you their efforts have ended or to tell you that they are suing you. However, you should note that the FDCPA only applies to collection agencies and attorneys – it does not apply to in-house collection departments. Having said that, though, many creditors will honor the request.
If your letter fails to end the harassment, you should contact an attorney. Additionally, once you have hired a lawyer, the collection agency or creditor’s attorney must only communicate to you through your lawyer. The other benefit of retaining an attorney is that they can help you raise legal claims under the FDCPA.
Another solution to dealing with aggressive creditors is filing for bankruptcy. Once you file your initial bankruptcy papers, you are automatically protected from further actions from any collection agency. The collector must first obtain permission from the bankruptcy court before it can continue its collection efforts; and the court will not grant permission to those seeking to collect unsecured debts (such as credit card debt). Filing for bankruptcy is a very effective way to stop creditors from harassing you.
If you need help dealing with creditors or debt collectors give the Law Offices of Patrick L. Cordero a call today at (305) 445-4855 for a free, no-obligation, consultation.