How to Avoid Creditor Harassment

Harassing phone calls at home and work. Nasty credit representatives making you feel bad about yourself, maybe even taunting you. How can you make it stop? With a few simple steps you can put an end to harassing credit collection calls for good.

Preventative Steps

Most people don’t plan to be in a position where they end up in debt to someone and wind up as the recipient of collection calls from creditors. However, it can happen to any of us. We can lose our jobs, get into an accident, become ill and suddenly find ourselves unable to pay our bills.

To avoid getting harassing collection calls in the first place, don’t put your business or cell phone numbers on any types of credit applications, hospital records, or other applications. Just because there are additional lines there for these numbers, doesn’t mean they are needed. One home number is plenty.

If you find yourself in a position that you are going to fall behind on your bills, contact all of your creditors immediately. If they know you are willing to pay, they are often able to work out deals with you that will prevent you from having your credit adversely affected or from your accounts being turned over to a collection agency.

Once the Calls Start

If the collection calls have already started you can take some steps to make them stop. First you need to determine if the debt is legitimate. If so, you can write a letter to the creditor and the credit representatives and tell them to put you on a “do not call” list. You must provide your name, account number, and a method for them to reach you (by letter for instance). You should send this letter certified mail. According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, once a creditor/agency receives your letter, they must stop calling you.

Be aware of the Fair Credit Reporting Act rules. Creditors can not call you before 8am or after 9pm in most states, and if you ask them to stop calling you at work, they must oblige. Take note of creditors who are not following these rules and report them.

Keep a log of all calls, from what agency, what the credit representatives name is, what date an time they called. If they continue to be a nuisance, you can report them. Your log will support your claim that they are indeed harassing you.

Creditors must also be respectful of you, they must not threaten, taunt, or call you names. If any credit representative acts in this manner you should report them immediately.

Another simple solution to avoid harassing creditor phone calls is to simply not answer the phone. If you know there is nothing you can do to pay the debt you owe at that moment, there is no reason for you to answer or engage a credit representative. Avoid the stress of dealing with a creditor by letting your answering machine or voice mail take the call.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Casey Serin

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