Creditors call you at work, home and on your cell phone day and night sometimes every hour on the hour asking for payment. Due to the recession the harassing calls from creditors have increased and have gotten more unprofessional. In some instances consumers are unemployed and therefore can’t send a payment but creditors don’t care, they want their money and will do just about anything to get it – even lie collection agency harassment.
If you make just one late payment usually 30 days or more late, no matter what your previous payment history you could be placed in the same category as those who avoid paying bills, hide under a rock hoping their creditors will get tired of contacting them for payment or who have filed for bankruptcy.
Most creditors have a Collection Department that calls to remind you to send a payment if the payment is even one day past the due date. The first few calls the creditors seem really nice and ask when you will be able to send a payment. Then they their attitude quickly changes and they use all kinds of threats, lies, emotional guilt, rudeness, etc. to get you to make a payment.
Please don’t fall for this! Know your rights as a consumer and the rights that creditors and debt collection agencies have to follow before making a payment agreement verbally or in writing. The two main acts that protect consumers are the Fair Credit and Reporting Act (FCRA) and Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) which can found on the Federal Trade Commission website at ftc.gov/credit.
A creditor or debt collection agency cannot call you before 8:00 am or after 9:00 pm. If a creditor or debt collector contacts you, you have the right to ask them to stop contacting you by phone by saying “cease and desist” and ask them to contact you by mail. If you feel a creditor or debt collector has violated your rights as a consumer file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC-HELP or by going to their website at ftc.gov.
Never make a decision to pay an overdue bill based out of fear or due to bullying tactics used by the creditors and collection agencies. Take a day or two to calm down, think about your situation and then develop a plan to start paying your debt back. Call the creditor back and tell them your plan to pay the debt back. Follow-up your agreement in writing and keep a copy for your records.
If you fall behind on your payments in the future notify your creditor or the collection agency immediately that you are having financial problems and setup a payment plan with them to prevent bad marks on your credit report and to prevent legal action being taken against you.