I have been recently working with a visitor to Creditmania.com who was looking for help in stopping the constant harassing calls from collectors. It had recently gotten so bad that they were receiving upwards of 50 calls per day. Mostly calls from Robo-Dialers that never really left any messages on their answering machine but started the annoying ringing at 8AM and lasted till 9PM. Having found my website in frustration they reached out to me for help with a quick strategy to address this immediate situation. I learned they had some finances available to get bills caught up but not enough to retire some doctor bills that were piling up. I’m outlining below what was used as a strategy that resulted in phone calls going from almost 50 per day to less than 5 almost overnight. I would call that powerful!
If you find yourself in this collections trap please consider using this post as plan to get your road to recovery started. The couple who used this method has agreed to allow me to share a letter they used to make final and partial payments on several accounts and now say the creditors are being very receptive. Where the creditor is not calling off the third party collections agency they will be sending the cease and desist letter that can be found on CreditMania.com.
Step 1 – Get Organized
You’ll need to collect all of your account information. Past due bills or online statements that show where you owe your money. Make a list of these accounts and make sure to investigate if you can pay them online. Online pay is preferable for quick results. Once you make an online payment to retire a balance or even get caught up on late pays the Robo-Dialer will stop calling. There are automatic triggers that tell the computer dialers to call you once you are late or past due on many credit accounts. Use the online system to your advantage.
Step 2 – Budget Analysis
You’ll need to see what extra money in your budget you have to start paying on the outstanding debts. You want to make sure to retire the easy to pay small balances first. Then focus on larger bills that may take more time to pay off. Either way you may need to go on a spending diet in the short term to make this work for you. Example used by the couple above was less eating out and other entertainment spending. Sacrifices will bear positive results so don’t be afraid to give up something to gain peace of mind.
Step 3 – Make the Payments
Okay you have a kitty of bill pay money allocated for this strategy. You will start with the items you can pay online. Many bills can be paid online today and offer great ways to track proof of payments so start there. Then on those with larger balances where you need to set up payment plans use the USPS mail and feel free to use the example letters below. Once your payments are authorized online for instance, the collection calls should stop immediately. If they don’t I would suggest making call to their customer service. There is nothing to fear in calling them at this point as you have made payment to them and should now expect the calls to stop. Demand them to stop calling you.
Step 4 – Follow Through
Where you are asking for payment plans from your creditors be sure to follow through with the payments. This is a second chance to make right your debts and clear up your credit history. It’s very easy to get into this situation and not easy to get out. Once out you should never want to experience that again. So make it your resolution to follow this plan through and through until you owe nobody! That is financial freedom at its best.
Attached: Two Example Letters
Stop The Calls – Make Payments
Link: CreditMania Cease and Desist Letter (Join our Family of Users to get the entire pak!)
Justice is served!
Learning to live life richly each day is my goal for those of you that read my posts. There are many ways to live richly and one of them is to address your past debts with the peace and understanding you do have important rights. First is the rights to be treated fairly and with respect by those whom you owe money. Even by those that are preying on old uncollectable debts, you know what I am referring to… the bottom feeding debt collector of the likes that have finally been caught and exposed in the below story.
I hope each of you take away the fact that you are protected by the law of the land from these sharks and it is vital you document every communication you receive! Record phone conversations, archive voice messages, and never throw out any written communications. YOU are in the driver’s seat…
Vulgar voicemails force debt collector to pay $1.5 million
by JASON WHITELY
Posted on May 28, 2010 at 11:30 PM
Updated Wednesday, Jun 2 at 12:19 AM
DALLAS — The harassing and threatening voicemail messages left on Allen Jones’ mobile phone are nothing short of vulgar.
“This shouldn’t be tolerated,” he said. “Nobody should have to experience what I had to experience.”
Debt collectors from Advanced Call Center Technologies, LLC left eight messages for Jones in August 2007 trying to collect what it said he owed on a credit card.
Most messages were laced with profanity and spewed racial slurs:
It’s a very peaceful Sunday afternoon and I’m enjoying the sun and summer like temperatures. What a great day to just unwind and prepare mentally for the coming work week! However in the midst of this Zen like moment the phone is ringing off the hook! Who could that be???
It’s a bill collector calling my home on a Sunday afternoon! Is nothing sacred I think to myself! It was a cordial lady on the line wanting to work with me on paying off an old medical related bill that I had most likely overlooked. I told her I was not prepared to discuss the bill until I had received some sort of validation of debt via snail mail and asked her to kindly stop calling me about this matter. I promised I would respond once I researched the situation myself and had contacted my health insurance provider to see if there was some sort of error. Bottom line my Zen moment was killed with that darn phone ringing and me answering it!
To put my mind back into to the previous peaceful state I decided to write about my experience and share with everyone who reads my blog. If you are one of the millions of Americans with debt collectors calling you on a regular basis then you need to know how to deal with them. I write this with the caveat that you do deal with the original creditor in most cases rather than the collection agency and that you do resolve the matter. (Unless the darn original amount owed is way way past the statute of limitations and in that case re-starting payment on such an old debt leads to prolonged issues with your credit files) To that end please make good on your promises and then learn to never get into that situation again. Agreed? …Good!
What should you do if a debt collector calls you on the phone at home or work?
- Answer the phone with utter calm and a powerful smile.
- Ask the caller to identify themselves and let them know you are logging/recording the call. At this point also ask for their mailing address and case file number for this attempt of collection. (Send Cease and Desist Letter via mail to them as soon as possible)
- In a clear and pleasant voice state you are not willing to do business over the phone at this point disputing the validity of the debt. (They must cease contacting you on this notice)
- Ask the caller to identify the original creditor and request written documentation be sent to your home mailing address.
- Do not let them threaten or harass you! They can’t do that under your rights. If they do this tell them once again you are not in a position to agree to anything and that you will certainly not do any business over the phone.
- Finally please calmly reinforce your demand to have the caller’s company cease and desist all collection activities on this matter as you are disputing this debt until it’s fully validated under your rights given by the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act. Smile even more!
- Hang up and log the date and time of the call. If you get a future call from them log it once again and repeat steps 1-6 again. If they continue to ignore your cease and desist demands you may file a complaint against them and or sue for damages.
It all seems very easy but it can be very intimidating. Just remember you have the upper hand. You have the rules on your side! Essentially you are dealing with a person whose only interest is getting you to fork over some money. The debt collection phone rep is paid a salary and commission and the commission/bonus is based on converting old past debts into current revenue and profit. So don’t let a phone queue rep just doing their job ruin your Zen moment!
Whew, now that we have mastered how to deal with the collections sharks, let’s get back to making some ice tea and enjoying the backyard patio! The birds are in singing and having babies! The flowers are in full bloom! Butterflies are fluttering about! My friends, life’s too short to let a phone call ruin your day!
Live life richly today!