How to Handle Debt Collection Calls
You're sitting down to dinner, just shoving the first bite of the steak you cooked up into your mouth when your phone rings. You mutter, throwing down your knife and fork, and check the caller ID. Who is it? Some 800 number with an unpronounceable company name, and if you answer it, they'll ask you to pay that $32.64 you owe some membership program you signed up for when you were drunk three St. Patrick's Days ago.
The fact is, we all hate those calls. Over the course of the normal person's lifetime we are all bound to get at least one of them, and for those of you shaking your heads, you just wait. Debt collectors go to great lengths to get the money from the people they contact, but there is a long list of things that debt collectors are legally NOT allowed to do. Here's the story:
There are laws in place on the state and federal level which restrict debtors from contacting you under certain circumstances. You should check your state laws here.
Consumer Alert - Allied Data
Allied Data Corporation is a scam collection agency located in Texas. Their number is 1(800)275-7176. I was recently approached by this company with their claims that they had taken over a relatively small overdue account with Avon. The lady I spoke to called me names, called me a liar and said I was refusing to pay my debt.
Mind you, I received - one week ago - my letter from a *reputable* collection group that stated I was still to pay Avon.
Doing my research at the Better Business Bureau I discovered that this ADC company has a seriously bad record with the BBB, is NOT accredited, and further research online showed me that this company is reputed by hundreds of people as a total scam.
Do your research! Don't hand over money until you have full verification of your debt in writing and from a source which is registered and accredited by the BBB!
Under the provisions of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) here are some of the debt collector no-nos:
- Calling prior to 8 a.m. in your time zone. No matter what time zone the debt collector operates in, they cannot call you before 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m. unless you specifically tell them they may.
- Belittle, slander or make negative comments about you or your life choices.
- Claim you committed a crime
- Deliver to you documents which appear to be legal forms but are not, or legal forms which the collection agency making claims that the forms were not legal forms.
- Call you at work unless your boss allows these kinds of calls.
- Lie about who they are, who they work for, or how much you owe
- Threaten you with a lawsuit, jail time or violence to get you to pay.
- Call you without notifying you of your debt via mail within five days.
- Call you more than once after you write a letter for them to cease and desist phone calls.
Armed with this list, the best advice for dealing with a debt collector is to simply keep a level head, take down every bit of information you can, and pay off your debts! Even if you can only afford to pay a small amount every month, you still show through a regular schedule of payment that you have an honest desire to clear your accounts. Good luck!