Once an account is a payment or two past due, it is normal for collection calls to start. One of the most common questions is how to manage these collection calls. Since collection calls are inevitable when accounts are past due, it’s best to have a certain mindset and plan to manage these calls. If you come to terms with the fact that collection calls are part of this process, you may be able to deal with the calls better. Some people let the collection calls go to their voicemail while others choose to change their phone number. If you choose to speak with the collectors, you should follow the Suggested Creditor Phone Call Scripts. Keep reading below for more information to help you understand and deal with the collection calls.
Original Creditors vs. Collection Firms: Collection Firms are bound by the regulations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act while Original Creditors are not. This means that collectors must follow rules like when they can and cannot call you, what they can and cannot say to collect and how many times a day they can call you. While some Original Creditors may follow the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, it does not mean they have to. For example, if you send a letter to a Collection Firm requesting that they no longer call you, they would have to abide by your request, whereas the Original Creditor would not. And that brings us to our next topic. Is it a good idea to request that a collector no longer call you?
Cease and Desist Letters – Good or Bad? As mentioned above, if you send a Collection Firm a Cease and Desist Letter requesting that they stop calling you, they must stop calling you. Sure, it might sound great to stop the collection calls and not have to deal with them anymore. But, proceed with caution. For most people, it is not a smart strategy to send a Cease and Desist request and it can actually have adverse effects. If you are planning to eventually to resolve your account, it is usually best to allow the collector to keep calling you. This doesn’t mean that you have to speak with them. When you send a collector a Cease and Desist request, you take away the collector’s most effective way to attempt to collect on the debt and leave them with very little options. The Collection Firm may sell the debt or they may feel they have to pursue other avenues to collect on the debt, such as initiating a lawsuit. You want the collector to believe you are open to working with them. By taking away their ability to call you, they may think you are avoiding the debt and this may escalate the action they take. It is better to let the collection calls continue and follow the tips in this article to manage the calls the best that you can. And remember... once you resolve the account, the calls stop!
Hardship Letters: Hardship Letters are sent to Original Creditors. Within your Hardships Letter, you can include language to try to manage collection calls. This language can ask the Creditor to only call you during certain hours or to not call you at certain times. While the Original Creditor does not have to follow your request some may as a courtesy, and it doesn’t hurt to ask. You can read more about collection calls and Hardship Letters here: Collection Calls after sending Hardship Letter
Validation of Debt Letters – May help manage calls: Validation of Debt Letters are sent when a Collection Firm sends you their first collection letter. Once you update the creditor’s information in UGotiate, you will receive an alert in your To Do List to create and send a Validation Letter. When you send this letter, the Collection Firm must stop all collection activity until they send you written documents validating the debt. The collector does not have to validate the debt – but if they do not, they cannot call you or send you collection letters. So, the Validation of Debt letter will stop collection calls for some time – until the collector sends you the validation. This may take a couple weeks, a couple of months or they may never validate the debt. So, for some time you won’t receive collection calls on this account. For more information about this topic read: What happens after sending a Validation of Debt?
Calls at Work: Calls to your place of employment should be handled differently than calls to your home or cell phone. In your Hardship Letter, you can state specifically that you are not allowed calls at your job and request that the creditor not call you there. While the Original Creditor does not have to follow your request because they are not bound by the Fair Debt Collection Practice Act, most will as a courtesy. For Collection Firms, you will want to send them a letter specifically advising them not to call your work. Send this letter by certified mail with return receipts so you know when they receive the letter. After the letter is received, the calls to your work must stop, per the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. If they continue to call you after you know they have received the letter, you can follow the scripts in this article: Suggested Creditor Phone Call Scripts