Financial worries create additional stress that is damaging to your emotional and physical health. Dealing with the overdue notices and monthly bills from creditors is difficult enough without the harassing phone calls that often accompany your debt. You are no doubt aware of your financial distress, which means you don’t need the constant reminders from aggressive debt collectors calling your home on a regular basis.
A lot of people feel helpless when it comes to fighting back against the abuse of debt collectors. In a past post, we covered some tips to help you “Bring an End to Debt Collection Harassment,” but in this post we’d like to focus more tightly on phone calls. Constant phone calls are the most annoying form of harassment, so what can you do to stop those harassing calls from debt collectors?
Talk to Your Debt Collectors
Many people opt to dodge the calls by hanging up or ignoring future calls. You are well within your legal rights to hang up on debt collectors or refuse to answer their calls, but that doesn’t mean the stream of calls will stop flowing. If you have the courage to do so, engage with your debt collectors.
Answer the phone when they call and find out if you really owe money or not. Speak frankly and honestly with them about what can be done to pay back your debts over time while ending the harassing phone calls. Another benefit to answering the phone is the ability to end rogue and/or illegal collection practices.
In some cases, debt collectors simply confuse identifications. There are a lot of John Smith’s in the world after all. By answering the phone, you can clarify whether or not the debt is actually yours, or is a case of mistaken identity. If you can prove the mistaken identity, the collector is legally obligated to cease further calls to your number.
Pay Off Debts
If you constantly receive harassing phone calls about smaller debts, such as credit cards or a line of credit, you could always start paying off that debt. Place your own call to your creditor and establish a payment plan that works for your finances. Be aware that a lot of creditors will encourage you to use automatic bill pay, but don’t cave to that unless you are certain you can make those automatic payments.
Exercise Your Rights
Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), you have the right to contact debt collectors and issue a cease-and-desist order to collection agencies. You can send a letter request an end to collection calls to both your credit and the collection agency that formally demands an end to harassing calls.
If the debt collection calls don’t stop, that is when the cease-and-desist order comes in to play. If you receive calls after your request to end the calls has been received, the time has come to contact a lawyer and have this form submitted.
Contact a Lawyer
Assuming the steps you’ve taken on your own are not effective in stopping phone calls, it is time to contact a reputable lawyer to support your cause. A lawyer can not only compile and submit your cease-and-desist order, but will also manage your case from start to finish. Your lawyer is there to serve you, and can handle all the paperwork, manage your case moving forward, and ensure that the phone calls stop.
There are a few things you can do to aid your lawyer in the process:
- Record phone calls: Inform debt collectors from the outset that you are recording the call. If the collector makes any threats or uses abusive/aggressive language, you can turn that recording over to your lawyer.
- Don’t Lie: The worst thing you can do is lie to a debt collector on the phone, because they too are recording conversations and can use those lies against you later.
If you want to bring an end to the harassing phone calls, contact Fair Debt Lawyers to learn more about how our licensed attorneys can help you.