When you’re on the receiving end of a debt collection call, it can be hard to keep your cool. Debt collectors try to be as intimidating as possible, in the hope that you’ll pay up in order to make the calls stop. As tempting as it is to hang up or not answer the phone, it’s worth your while to take debt collection calls. If a debt collector crosses the line into behavior that’s illegal under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, you’ll be able to document the tactics and build a case to sue the debt collection agency in court. Even more importantly, you’ll be able to assert that you know your rights, and put the debt collector on notice that you won’t put up with being harassed.
Sample Collection Call Script
Collector: Can I speak to Lucy?
You: This is Lucy. Who is calling?
The debt collector must, according to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, provide you with his actual name and the name of the debt collection agency. If you are not “Lucy,” the FDCPA says that the debt collector must give you his name but cannot tell you that he is trying to collect a debt. He can ask you for “Lucy’s” contact information if he doesn’t already have it. You are not obligated to provide him with this information. If he already has “Lucy’s” contact information, he cannot continue to contact third parties.
Collector: This is Dave Jones from All-Star Collections. I am collecting a past due debt you owe to the Horizon telephone company. When can I expect payment of the past due amount, totaling $150?
You: Are you an employee of Horizon telephone company or All-Star Collections?
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act covers third-party debt collectors. If he’s an employee of Horizon, the FDCPA doesn’t apply. If he’s an employee of All-Star Collections, he’s either a third-party debt collector or the debt collection agency has purchased an old debt. Either way, the FDCPA applies.
Collector: I am employed by All-Star Collections.
You: Please provide me with the address of your company, so I can send dispute the debt and send a cease-and-desist letter.
Once you receive the address of the debt collection agency, you can send both a dispute letter and a cease and desist letter. The dispute letter requires the debt collector to prove that you owe the debt. The cease and desist letter prohibits the debt collection agency from contacting you by phone or mail, unless it’s to tell you that they are no longer trying to collect the debt or that they are taking legal action. Neither letter makes a legitimate debt go away, but it will give you time to formulate a plan and to stop debt collector harassment.
Collector: How much money do you make? When are you paid? Do you have other kinds of income?
A debt collector will try and get as much information as possible. You are not required to answer any of the debt collector’s questions, except to verify your address (after he provides it). Don’t answer any of his questions.
You: I am hanging up now. Goodbye.
If you have been the victim of harassment or illegal or unfair debt collection practices, contact the Fair Debt Attorneys at Lemberg & Associates immediately to discuss your options and protect your rights. When you owe creditors money, you are protected by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, as well as other federal and state laws. If a debt collector has violated your rights, you may be entitled to up to $1000 in damages, and they may even have to pay your attorney fees. Sergei Lemberg, and the attorneys at Lemberg & Associates have helped countless people to assert their legal rights with debt collectors. Don't be intimidated by illegal debt collection practices. For more information, contact Lemberg & Associates today at .