Are you constantly receiving calls from debt collectors or unknown numbers? It may feel like there’s nothing you can do about unwanted calls, but if you’re frequently harassed by a collection agency, here’s what you can do.
Despite how they seem, collection calls are legal.
If you want to do something about unwanted calls, you first have to understand what they are. Collection calls are not the same as robocalls or spam calls. When a creditor calls you, he or she is looking to collect payment for a debt you owe to another company. The collection company is paid to continually call you until you pay the debt.
Collectors will call you cell phone, home phone, and work phone. They’ll send you letters and can even come to your home unannounced. Your friends or family members might hear from the collection agency if they’ve been unable to reach you. You might be surprised by the amount of personal information the collectors have. Unfortunately, having a collection on your account can ruin your credit score and stay on your credit report for up to seven years.
You still have legal rights.
You do have legal rights that protect you when collection agencies are attempting to get money from you. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) enforces guidelines that the debt collectors must follow. For example, someone can only call you between the hours of 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. Collectors are legally allowed to send you letters, emails, or text messages. They can contact your place of work, but if you tell them to stop, they are legally required to comply. After the initial contact by the debt collector, you will receive a letter stating the amount of the debt, to whom it is owed, and what to do if you don’t believe the debt is yours.
If you’ve been receiving phone calls from unknown numbers, you can do a reverse phone lookup to see who’s calling you. Checking public records will help you determine if you’re getting spam calls or calls from a debt collector. Knowing who’s trying to reach you will give you peace of mind and help you prepare for a conversation with a debt collector.
Have a plan for when a debt collector calls you.
Receiving constant calls from a collector can leave you emotionally drained. You might feel angry or frustrated, and if they call at the wrong time, you could say things you don’t mean. Have a plan for when you receive a call from a collector. Don’t take a call when you don’t have time to talk or know you won’t be able to focus. Tell the collector to call back later if you need some space.
When you do talk with the caller, take notes. Write down the date and time of the call, who you spoke with, and what you talked about. Ask him or her to give you information about the debt, especially if you don’t think you owe anything. It’s important that you don’t admit to owing any debt and you should never make a payment until you’ve verified the debt by asking the collector to send proof that you do owe. Having a plan for when you receive a call will help you stay calm and in control.
You can take legal action if your rights are violated.
It’s a good idea to seek legal advice if you’ve attempted to stop collection calls without any success. An attorney can help you understand your rights and what steps you’ll need to take to stop the harassment. You may be able to file a lawsuit for each violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) guidelines. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or angry, contact a lawyer today and see what you can do to get your life back.
You might be tempted to tell a caller that he or she has the wrong number. Instead, have a plan for dealing with collectors and speak with a lawyer if your rights are violated.