Harassing phone calls from debt collectors can not only disrupt your personal life, they can impact your professional life, as well. Therefore, it is important and useful to know how to stop those annoying phone calls before they become too overwhelming.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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it is important to determine if the caller has a legitimate reason for contacting you. One way to do this is by determining if the debt in question is legitimate. If you don't recall incurring the debt in question, ask the creditor's representative for a written report on the debt including when it was allegedly incurred, to whom it is owed, and what the terms of payment are. If you don't think the debt is legitimate, continue on to Step Two, below. If the debt is truly owed, continue on to Step Three.
Contact your local phone company right after receiving the harassing call from the illegitimate debt collector and report the scam. You may also ask the phone company to trace the call to get the phone number of the perpetrator. You can then report this number to the authorities.
Write a "Do Not Call" letter and send it both to the creditor and their harrassing representative. This letter should include your name, account information, and instructions about when, where, and how they may contact you. Make sure to send this letter via certified mail so you will have evidence the letter was received, should you need proof in the future.
Keep a log of the harassing calls. Mark down the date and time of each call, the name of the collector who contacted you and the creditor they represent either on a calendar or in a notebook kept right next to your telephone. You can then use this log as evidence you are indeed being harassed.
While this idea may not prevent harassing calls, it will certainly help you prove their existence. Why not record the calls? In order to be sure recording an incoming phone call is legal and admissible as evidence in a court of law in your state, check with an attorney. And even if you aren't actually recording calls, there is nothing wrong with telling a creditor or their representative that you are. More than likely, the tone of the conversation will change considerably.
Steps for stopping harassing creditor phone calls
Tips and warnings
- Debt collectors can only legally contact you between reasonable hours. Reasonable hours usually are between 8 in the morning and 9 at night.
- If you don't want collectors calling you at your place of employment, you can instruct them not to call you at work. They must abide by this order or they may be in violation of state and/or Federal law.
- For laws and rules on how often and when collectors can call you refer to the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) interpretation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), Section 806(5).
- If you decide to record your incoming telephone calls, there are recording devices that can be attached directly to your phone so you don't have to use an outside recording device. An alternative to that idea is to use a handheld tape recorder or digital recorder.
- If you don't take control of the situation, your life can be taken over by harassing calls from creditors or their collection representatives.