Debt collection calls can be a source of significant stress. The stakes are high: unresolved matters can ruin your credit, and automation has made it increasingly difficult to resolve issues promptly and effectively. However, there are solutions available, and engaging a debt collection attorney can play a key role in navigating these challenges. Furthermore, there are strategies you can use to deal with rogue telemarketers. This article will explore these solutions, providing tips and insights to help you regain control of your financial situation while tackling debt collection threats.
Understanding the Threat of Debt Collection
The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College recently covered the story of Ana, a Cuban immigrant, who was pursued relentlessly by a debt collection agency claiming she owed $34,000. Despite providing documents proving she had already paid the debt, the collection agency persisted with its threats, leading Ana to file a complaint with the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). This example highlights the lengths to which debt collectors may go to secure payments and the importance of knowing your rights and resources in such situations.
The Role of Debt Collection Attorneys
In cases like Ana’s, a debt collection attorney can be invaluable. These legal professionals understand the complexities of debt law and can help individuals negotiate with debt collectors more effectively. They can also identify and respond to illegal debt collection practices, providing a significant advantage when dealing with persistent or unscrupulous collectors.
The CFPB, established in response to the 2008 financial crisis, forwards consumer complaints to the relevant parties, encouraging resolution. However, before filing a complaint with the CFPB, consumers should attempt to negotiate directly with the company. Here, a debt collection attorney can be instrumental in ensuring a fair negotiation process.
Negotiating with Debt Collecting Telemarketers
These tips can help you negotiate with debt collectors, whether you are negotiating on your own or with the assistance of an attorney.
- Don’t make a partial payment upfront or admit you owe money until you’ve spoken to an attorney. Making a payment on demand might restart the statute of limitations.
- Confirm with the collection agency how much money you owe and the source of the debt.
- If the amount is correct, negotiate a repayment plan based on your financial capabilities.
- Get the agreement with all of the terms in writing before making any payments.
The Power of a CFPB Complaint: Ana’s Success Story
When attempts at negotiation falter without bearing fruitful results, lodging a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), much like what Ana embarked upon, could serve as a potent subsequent course of action. Generally, companies are quick to respond to grievances presented to the CFPB, typically reverting within a span of 15 days. Notably, in the year 2022, the agency channeled upwards of 60,000 complaints to debt collection agencies, successfully facilitating resolutions for the overwhelming majority of these cases.
Dealing with Telemarketers about Debt
Besides debt collectors, there are also rogue telemarketers who incessantly call to pursue these supposed debts, causing inconvenience in one’s daily life. Below are some methods to lessen these disruptions:
- Get on the Do Not Call List: Register your number on the National Do Not Call Registry to avoid most telemarketing calls. The calls should stop within 31 days of adding your number to the list.
- Ask Legitimate Callers to Stop: If you have an existing business relationship with a caller, they are allowed to call you even if you’re on the Do Not Call list. However, if you ask them to stop, they are obliged to do so, or face a potential fine.
- Block a Database of Numbers on Your Smartphone: Use a third-party app like YouMail to block a list of phone numbers that other people have reported. This approach can help block calls from organizations that are exempt from the Do Not Call list, such as political campaigns, survey companies, charities, etc.
- Block Individual Phone Numbers: If you keep receiving calls from a specific number, you can block that number directly on your smartphone, using the built-in blocking features of both Android and iPhone.
The Wrap Up on Collection Threats
Dealing with debt collection threats and rogue telemarketers can be a daunting task, but remember that you have rights and resources at your disposal.
Engaging a debt collection attorney can provide expert guidance through the negotiation process, and steps such as registering on the Do Not Call list and using call-blocking apps can mitigate the disruption caused by rogue telemarketers. Taking control of these situations can help alleviate stress and protect your financial future.
This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that you seek the assistance of a qualified consumer protection attorney to address any specific questions or issues you may have about debt collection practices or laws.
Led by attorneys J. Andrew Meyer and Michael D. Finn with over 75 years of combined legal experience. The Finn Law Group is a consumer protection firm specializing in Timeshare Law. For a free consultation, please contact our office at (727) 214-0700 or email us at [email protected] for an appointment.
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