When a person is already overwhelmed by debt, the last thing they need is a debt collector calling to collect on credit cards or other contracts. As everyone knows, if money were available, the payment would be made. For those who keep receiving these unwanted contacts, especially by phone, there are measures that can be taken to reduce them or eliminate them all together.
The most important thing to know is that debt has an expiration date. Debt older than seven years is no longer collectable expect in the case of bankruptcy which can last up to ten years. Therefore, keeping track of when the initial contract was made is important to eliminating harassing calls. One need only report, in writing, that the debt has expired. As with other measures, if calls continue then complaints can be filed with official agencies after which the collection agency can be fined.
Based on the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act debtors are allowed to tell collectors that any future contact must be made in writing. This is a federal law that could lead to fines for those who violate the mandates it contains. One element is what are called cease and desist letters that can be written to debt collectors in order to ensure future contact is only made by mail. When writing such letters they should reference the law, the contract number, the date the contract was entered into, and the date in which calls must stop. Although this will not prevent future legal action, it will stop harassing phone calls.
By making all contacts in writing and keeping copies of all payments made proof can be provided in case legal action is pursued that demonstrates an effort to fulfill the obligations of the contract. It’s important to remember that debt collectors must prove you owe the money by providing a copy of the original contract with your signature on it. If such proof is provided and the case ends up in court, however, by providing information related to current financial status, work history, and efforts to pay, court authorities will take it consideration when making judgments. This can not only help eliminate unwanted phone calls, but can also ultimately save thousands of dollars when judgments result in a compromise of the total amount and terms of repayment.
One alternative to consider prior to reaching the point of going to court is to negotiate terms directly with the lender. Often they will accept a lesser amount, reduce interest, or reduce payments in order to clear a debt especially during difficult economic times. Additionally, they are often willing to reduce the amount of monthly payments until such time as the economy improves. The thing to remember is that open communication is often the key to resolving issues involving debt.
Although there are many “get out of debt,” offers especially online today, they should be researched carefully as there are many people who are now taking advantage of those who are under financial stress. If money is asked for in advance before assistance is provided, be wary as it could be a scam which could leave an individual in worse shape than when they stated. Ultimately, the best way to stop unwanted debt collection calls is to take a proactive stance.