There are many different plausible reasons why you might have fallen behind with your bill payments but one thing is certain, your stress levels get higher every time the phone rings and you have to fend off a call from a debt collector.
One of the worst aspects of being in debt is the constant harassment from debt collection agencies, but you can do something about it.
Here is a look at how you can fight back and put a stop to the calls. There is an overview of your consumer rights plus some tips on how to complain and put an end to the harassment.
Rules of engagement
There are laws that regulate exactly how and when a debt collector can contact you by phone and chase you by phone for an unpaid bill.
Calls to your number have to be made between the hours of 8 am and 9 pm, anything beyond those parameters is against the rules. If you find yourself getting harassed beyond those times or don’t like the tone or content of the call, you might want to consider the idea of recording your incoming calls.
Download a call recorder for your smartphone, you can get it on Google Play, and the app will then automatically record each call or you can choose which conversations you want to retain for future use.
Debt collectors have to behave responsibly when they call you and they are not allowed to harass you or tell lies in order to try and collect the debt.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is a government agency that has been set up to provide consumers with protection and advice on financial matters.
If you want to make a complaint about a debt collection agency contacting you and want to take steps to stop them calling, the CFPB is a useful resource, as it provides guidance on what action you can take to protect yourself from being harassed.
The general advice from the CFPB is to keep a record of all of your communications with the debt collectors, including times and dates of calls you received. Having a call recorder app on your phone will help you to keep details of the calls.
They also include some sample letters on the website that you can use to contact the collectors and tell them that you want their calls and contact to stop.
Getting to the root of the problem
It can be upsetting and stressful to receive constant calls and letters from collectors chasing you for a debt, although if it is a legitimate claim, they are entitled to try and collect the money fairly.
It is worth remembering that even if you write to the debt collectors and follow the procedures to get them to stop, the debt itself has not gone away.
You can take steps to stop unfair harassment for collection agencies but the ultimate solution is to try and resolve the debt situation and find a viable solution to pay the money you owe so that no one has any reason to contact you in the first place.
John Andrews fell into financial problems after he lost his job and couldn’t pay all of his bills and debts. He received calls from debt collectors almost daily, some of which were quite threatening. He writes about his experiences and offers up tips on what to do.