Know your stuff about collection!

Submitted by goodnatured on Sat, 12/15/2007 - 22:58

What has been you worse debt collector to deal with? How did you do it and what was your result.

I think this would be useful because we have a few posts on here that show that people are being harrassed by collectors.

1. Educate yourself on the collection laws, they more you know, the more powerful you are. If you get caught by a surprise phone call or letter, take some time to do your research before responding. If it is a letter, you need to act with a five day period or they will assume that you owe the debt.

2. Know the statute of limitation in your state, some junk debt collectors will call and try to get you to send even a small payment, if you do, that will start the statute of limitations all over again.

3. Come to these forums, seek advice and guidance from others who have been there.

You can put them on hold for a day or two, time to do your research. Don't give them the impression that they are in the right or the wrong, just get their information and tell them you will get back to them. Be calm, if they get mouthy or rude, request to speak to a supervisor, you are not trash and don't deserve to be treated like trash.[/i]

You could not have said it any better, I might add that you may want to find out if your state allows recording a conversation, the collectors probably don't know if they do or not, so I guess just mentioning that might put them on better behavior, I don't know who they think they are the way they treat people.
I always say that you get more bees with honey, I know I am more likely to cooperate if someone treats me with a little respect rather than treat me like a dirt ball. On the debt forum this seems to be a common theme. I think if I ever find myself in this situation I will bring up the recording them immediately that way they don't go there right from the beginning, what do you think?

Sun, 12/16/2007 - 02:30 Permalink

Just ran across this site a few days ago, read a bit and decided to post a few questions. This topic caught my eye though.

I'm 36, male, just about to get married but I'm still on disability. Five years ago, I had a catastrophic medical problem that put me in a nursing home for about three and a half years. I had several low balance credit cards (each about a thousand dollars) and I eventually went through my savings to try and keep current, not realizing what an ordeal I was in for.

I wrote letters to my credit card companies explaining the situation -- in the beginning I had almost died and lost most all my posessions and had to go on welfare to get the medical help I needed, and any payments I recieved from Soc Sec disability was limited to $40 per month. The credit card companies held my accounts open for six months -- for my convenience they claimed. Naturally, they charged me a $50 per month fee for late payments (at this point I could pay nothing) and a $50 per month overlimit fee (because the late fees drove me up past my original limit). So, they in essence tacked on an additional $600 in fees before they even put my account in suspension. For my convenience.

Eventually, I was sent to collections and I sent proof to the vultures who dunned me that I was in a nursing home with, at the time, no hope for recovery.

Bringing me up to the present. I've received several surgeries which have allowed me to get out of the wheelchair for the first time in these five years, am walking again, and beginning my life over again. I'm still on disability, however.

Out of the blue, I get a call a few days ago, which angered me and prompted me to seek answers. Anyway, one of these credit cards had sold my debt again (don't know when) and the debt I'm being questioned on is four years old. I believe the stated amount is something around $1,600 or $1,700. I don't know yet; I haven't received the letter of explanation they're required to send after the phone call.

In the meantime I've moved to a different state, was able to get a secured credit card with a low balance ($300) and have been almost perfect at paying it off each month. I don't have any idea how this collection agency got my new number, but I don't really care about that.

She calls and tells me I owe this money and tries to offer a "holiday special" where I can pay $150 per month. I ask her to put this offer in writing and send it to me so I can review it and she flat out refuses to do so, saying something along the lines of that the mere fact they take my money every month is proof enough of a contract. I start to ask her why she won't send me a written offer, when she continues saying that I'm a lowlife for taking the credit and trying to evade paying -- implying that it was my thought all along to rip off this poor, helpless credit card company.

(As an aside, over the years I have come to the conclusion that the vast majority of people wish to pay their debts -- myself included -- and are trained to be polite on the phone. This is exactly how the collection agents take advantage of people.)

I explained to her that I tried to "work with you guys on this years ago, and your company didn't try to work with me then, so why should I work with you now" and she says that "we're a different company and that was the other company." Anyway, I then tell her that I'm still on disability and I don't do any business transactions over the phone, regardless. She tells me that I'd "better come up with better excuses next time she calls" and hangs up on me.

I figured something in my recent credit history has red-flagged me for a new round of dunning. I dunno. At any rate, I immediately talked to my fiancee about this -- we've both been open about our pasts including money issues and we're both dedicated towards fixing up what we can. My FICO is around 600 last time I checked. Maybe 599, 598, something like that, so I'm not *completely* tanked yet and I want to do what I can to improve my score.

I'm not really asking for advice about this current situation in this post, just wanted to share my most recent story. I was also harrassed years ago when all this first happened; when I was not in a position mentally, emotionally, or financially to deal with these people. I hate to paint with a broad brush, but I will never trust anyone who is from a collection agency. Ever.

Part of me wants to simply hang up on whomever calls me from the collection agency, part of me wants to just see how rude I can get before they hang up on me. I guess if they call again before I send my "do not contact me" letter, I'll just be as obnoxious as possible.

crackerjack --

Some states allow recording phone conversations if only one party (you) knows the recording is happening. Some states require you to notify all parties. This is most commonly done at the very beginning of the conversation and must be a part of that recording. Answering the phone by saying, "Hello, this conversation is being recorded" would probably suffice. Also, some recording devices are automated and produce an audible "beep" every thirty seconds or every minute, so a person doesn't have to say anything about the recording -- the beep is considered proper notification. IANAL, just my research.

I'll post my specific questions in the proper subforums, and I look forward to all the good advice!

Sun, 12/16/2007 - 20:16 Permalink

Have you checked on the statute of limitations on these credit cards, don't pay a dime until you do. What state did you live in when you opened the accounts? I can help you find the sol, but don't pay a dime until you find out, because if you do it starts the sol all over again.

In the mean time, it is against the law for them to talk to you that way, I would not take that crap from anyone. They are a third party collector, probably working on commission, who is the collection agency?

Mon, 12/17/2007 - 03:44 Permalink

It is not exactly illegal to be rude but the abuse can be kept low.
I hope you have already send them debt validation letters? Did you you a detailed check up of the credit reports. Send them a cease and desist letter mentioning that you dont want them to communicate with you over the phone and ask for written communication.

Wed, 12/19/2007 - 10:01 Permalink

Laura, you are partially correct and incorrect.

It is perfectly legal for a collector to be rude, to lay a guilt trip, to insinuate, to hang up...the FDCPA does not regulate courtesy.
However, it is illegal to engage in name calling. If proven in a court, it carries a $1000 fine. I would hope the collector does it again--while TWN is recording the call.

Fri, 12/21/2007 - 01:28 Permalink

We know from the debt forum just how rude and ignort collectors can be, you can also hang up on them. As Laura said, make them validate, that will stop the crap for about thirty days and then you can send a cease and desist letter, if you need help with a sample letter please let us know, there are some really good examples that you can use on the debt forum. Hope all is well with you.

Fri, 12/21/2007 - 02:07 Permalink

Yes Laura they can be legally rude as Morningstar mentioned. However the names they call you if proven in court can induce fine.

Fri, 12/21/2007 - 09:45 Permalink

I guess I wrote it in a wrong way. I know it is perfectly legal to be rude and that is what I meant. I apologize for putting it in a wrong way. I came to know about this from Morningstar around three four months back right?
Sorry again for confused usage of language.

Fri, 12/21/2007 - 09:48 Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

No worries. (mstar)

Fri, 12/21/2007 - 19:28 Permalink

Sometimes they can be really rude, I think they can get totally out of line, I think that they would get further with people if they would be alot nicer instead of just assuming the person is a loser and not going to pay them. I think you are right, I think alot of them work on a commission basis. Can you imagine if someone called you up and try to sell you something and started yelling at you or made rude comments.

I would tell them I was recording them weather I was allowed to or not, they probably did not know if my state allows it or not.

Fri, 12/21/2007 - 20:40 Permalink

There is the hitch. They do not know whether that is legal or not. SO that tactic of recording can be used whether we record or no.

Sat, 12/22/2007 - 04:51 Permalink

They don't take the time to know the laws, so I would give it a shot, can't hurt, It may keep them in line a little bit. I always tell them that this is not my first walk in this park and if they get out of line, they won't get crap out of me, especially if it is a bill that was purchased from the original creditor and they are collecting for a profit.

Sat, 12/22/2007 - 11:05 Permalink
adamboxerusa (not verified)

can a third party collection agency garnish my wages for a credit card debt that is 4 years old,they left a message on my son in laws cell phone that they were going to do this although my son in law has nothing to do with this and it was debt i got in with my exhusband, the inital debt was 1800.00 now its ballooned to nearly 8000.00...........desperate

Sun, 12/23/2007 - 13:29 Permalink

what state are you from? This will give me enough information to look up the statute of limitations. They are not allowed to leave any information like that on a machine period, you need to go to TOS Violation- Richard and read the laws on this. If your son inlaw still has the message, you can sue them for this violation. You can find out everything you need to know at TOS Violation- Richard

Sun, 12/23/2007 - 18:56 Permalink

Did you get these links before they were deleted by the moderator? I did not think that this was a violation of the terms of service, I interpretted that rule to be any new site like this one, the one I had posted was not. Until I get a clearer answer, if you did not get them let me know here and I will try and find them for you again and get them to you somehow.

Mon, 12/24/2007 - 13:33 Permalink

when my first husband and i broke up he wrecked his truck, which was financed at a loan company. when the insurance check came in it was made out to the loan company my husband and me so i called and told them we were seperated and i was signing the check but they had to sign it too plus my ex. i told them to take what he owed them and they could give him the balance. well when he took it in they only took one payment out and gave him the rest back. well before he paid it off he got killed in an accident. guess what they came after me to recover the balance. they even called my place of work i finally had the secratary tell them that they are not permitted to call anyones place of work and that she was documenting it.that didnt stop them they called me at home several times a day and threatened me, until one day i got fed up and called them and let them have it good i informed them i told them when they got the insurance check they signed off that they were paid as far as i was concerned, and any futher calls would be harassment and i was informing them i was tapeing this call and any futher calls from them if they didnt stop i was hireing an attorney to file a lawsuit. guess what i got a couple letters after that and it was done no more harrassment.

Tue, 01/08/2008 - 00:43 Permalink

Bill collectors can be viscous, they did not even care if he was dead, that is sad, they should have covered their rear ends with death insurance on the loan. Did you say the truck was totaled or just wrecked? It is their fault for not taking out what they should have. You did the right thing by telling them to go blow smoke.

Sorry to hear that you had to go through this, hopefully it has been a while ago and you are doing better these days, thank you for sharing the situation with us, I am sure someone will be able use this information to not make the same mistakes.

Tue, 01/08/2008 - 00:52 Permalink