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Dealing with Your Creditors


No one likes to have debt collectors calling at all hours, constantly harassing you and sending intimidating letters. It is enough to run you crazy.

However, you do have several protections and techniques you can employ to deal with the problem.

There are guidelines that debt collectors must follow when trying to collect a debt.

These are outlined in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. For instance, they cannot call you before eight in the morning or after nine in the evening.

They also are not allowed to threaten wage garnishment in states where it is not legal to do so. Neither can they continue to call and harass you if you tell them to stop.

[For the full text, see: http://www.ftc.gov/os/statutes/fdcpa/fdcpact.htm#801]

Now that leaves you with a few options. You could just not take their calls. An answering machine is a great way to screen calls and most have caller ID function. Use these to filter calls or block them entirely.

Should you decide to answer the phone you may tell them not to call you again and by law, they can’t. That is if you have sent them a cease and desist letter. This is legal action and in some areas can be quite expensive so you might want to try something else first.

If there is any way possible, you should try to pay the debt if it is a legitimate one. You applied for the credit or loan and the creditor does deserve to be paid.

Nevertheless sometimes, times are hard and the funds are just not there, bringing this into the negotiations could get a reduced debt or interest.

Once you follow the commitment up with action, the harassing calls will cease.

Debt collectors are not ogres despite their attitudes, they are simply doing a job that they are paid to do. After you have made an agreement, they are off to the next debtor.

Keep a record of any phone calls made or received and make note of any agreements. Also, note if you have asked them to stop calling especially if it is at work. In some states, you can legally record the conversations, but you may have to notify the other party.

Most bill collectors will not say anything out of the way once they know they are being recorded. This recording or ledger of calls can be important if you have reached a reduced debt agreement.

As a general rule companies allow the collector to settle a debt for much less than you owe. Of course, they are often paid on commission and will try to stick to the original amount. They will however come down if you press the issue. Anyone knows a half of $500 is better than 100% of zilch.


Always press your debt collector not to make any further black marks on your credit report in your agreements. What is already there will have to stay, but you can protect future scores. In addition, insist that they report quickly any and all payments you make on your debt and change the amount owed.

As in anything anymore, get it in writing before you shell out more than a small assurity payment. You can send a small payment to show them you are serious about canceling this debt. Mail them too much money and they will have few reasons to honor the terms of your verbal agreement.

Keep your cool and be patient as well as realistic. All these will go a lot further toward resolving the situation than the alternative states of mind.