| HARASSMENT FROM BILL COLLECTORS
Once you are about 45 days late with a payment, most credit card
companies will begin calling you. Initially, the calls are reminders -
eventually the calls become downright hostile and demeaning. Why?
Not because you are a bad person or deserve such obnoxious
Collectors know that if you are not paying your bills, you probably do
not have the money to pay your bills. Nobody stops paying bills for
the fun of it. You may forget or miss a payment once in awhile, but
you do not get to be 4 to 5 months late in payments if you have the
ability to pay your debts.
Thus, the theory of collection is that you do not have the money to
make payments. The only way for a collector to convince you that you
should pay that debt instead of some other bill (like your doctor or
utilities) is to scare you, to harass you with repetitive calls, or to call
you at work. The average bill collector is young and on a
quota/commission system of some type.
A second, newer theory of collection has emerged. I call it the "best
friend theory." A collector will call and sympathize with your situation
and suggest numerous alternatives. It is much harder for the average
person to not pay their best friend collector than it is to hang up on
the young, abusive collector, who has offended and insulted you.
If you are at the point that creditor harassment is interfering with your
everyday life, seek advice either through an attorney or talk with
friends who have filed bankruptcy. Make a decision concerning
whether you can pay your debts over a realistic period of time. If you
cannot, get information on workable options that are open to you. Do
not remain the victim of the bill collector bullies!
A FEW HINTS:
1. Do not send post-dated checks; many collectors will deposit the
2. Get the name and address of the collectors who call you at work.
Write them a letter (certified return receipt) advising them that they
are no longer permitted to contact you at work. If possible, ask for the
supervisor. If they will not give you an address, write directly to your
credit card company at the payment address.
3. DO NOT BANK AT A BANK OR FINANCIAL INSTITUTION TO
WHICH YOU OWE MONEY AND ARE BEHIND IN PAYMENTS. If
you are in default (usually by two or more payments), the bank or
credit union can grab your bank account and apply it to their loan,
credit card, line of credit, vehicle financing, etc. Meanwhile, you may
have written $500 in checks against those funds, all of which will
bounce. The banks taking of your account is called "Offset".
4. Pick up your certified mail. You want to know if legal action has
been started. Bring the paperwork with you (within 10 days) to an
|LAW OFFICES OF JENNIFER L. HOLLAND