It is 10:00 pm, you are getting ready for bed after a long day of work, dinner, homework, and finally getting the kids to sleep. The phone rings, you answer, and the voice you hear on the other line immediately causes your blood pressure to spike and your pulse to race.
Does this story sound familiar? For many Americans calls from collection agencies and creditors is an all too familiar burden. With unemployment rates soaring, the current state of the economy, and the rising expense of every day living you may find yourself in the uncomfortable and very stressful situation of being unable to make ends meet. However, just because you cannot afford to pay your past collection debt right now does not mean that you have to endure these harassing phone calls. You still have the right to be treated with respect!
The good news is that the Federal Trade Commission, most States, and the Fair Debt Collection Act (FDCA) can all help to protect you from collection agency/creditor harassment. The FDCA has very clear rules which regulate what debt collectors can and cannot do. For example, according to the FDCA, a creditor cannot:
1. Threaten violence or threaten to harm you and/or your family in any way. 2. Use obscene/profane language. 3. Repeatedly use the telephone to annoy a consumer. 4. Make false statements such as -falsely claiming they are attorneys or government representatives -falsely claim that you have committed a crime -misrepresent the amount you owe 5. Say that you will be arrested if you do not pay your debt. -Note: There is no debtor’s prison in the United States! 6. Call your employer. 7. Call you before 8:00 AM or after 9:00 PM.
So, what is the secret to stopping collection calls? There are actually several options available to you. Here are a few:
1. Negotiate and settle the debt. -Once an account is paid the collection calls will, generally, stop. However, it is very, very important to have a debt negotiations specialist (like HOPE) assist you while settling your old debt to insure that you receive the lowest settlement possible, to be sure that your credit report is updated properly to show a zero balance on your settled account, and to hold the creditor responsible to keeping his/her word and not changing the settlement terms in the middle of your negotiations process.
2. Request for the calls to stop.
-If you simply are not financially ready or able to settle out your old debt at this time you still have rights! Many times simply mentioning the Fair Debt Collection Act will stop a creditor’s calls. Also, when a creditor calls you can:
a. Ask the caller to identify themselves. b. Ask him/her to provide you with their agency’s address. c. Send a certified letter to the agency asking them to stop calling.
Now, it is important to remember that while you can legally stop collection phone calls, just because the calls stop does not mean that you no longer owe the debt. Whenever you are ready to deal with your past debt and begin working to restore your credit scores we invite you to give HOPE a call. Our caring credit specialists can provide you with a detailed analysis of your current credit report, show you how the HOPE Program can help you to address any negative accounts on your report and work to help you achieve the healthy credit scores you desire to have.
There is truly no such thing as a hopeless situation! HOPE has helped clients with as many as 86 collection accounts and hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt to turn their credit situation around and become homeowners! In fact, HOPE has had over 70 graduates in the past 4 months to complete our program with credit scores healthy enough to purchase a home! If you would like to schedule a personal credit analysis, or just learn more about the awesome membership benefits offered through HOPE, please give us a call today at 704-499-9696. We can’t wait to hear from you!