The Dreaded Debt Collector
By Keith Bunn Jr.
I can remember when I was going through my divorce years ago, I was doing a lot of emotional spending to “medicate” (not drug buying) my depression and since of loss. Needless to say, I was over spending and a lot of those purchases went to collections. I know, I know… All I can say is, I was young and dumb.
Anyway, I guess I was one of the lucky ones. I never had a really rude one call me. I just had the dumb ones. After a while, I just kind of had fun with them. To give you an example of one of the many phone conversations I had. Now keep in mind, I was living with my parents at the time.
Collector: Yes, may I speak to Mr. Bunn please?
Me: (I knew it was for me) Senior or Junior?
Collector: Hummm, I don’t know. It doesn’t say.
Me: Well, what do you need to speak to him about? Maybe I can tell you if you need Sr. or Jr.?
Collector: I can only talk about this matter with Mr. Bunn.
Me: Ok, Sr. or Jr.?
Collector: It doesn’t say here… Keith R. Bunn?
Me: Ok, Sr. or Jr.?
Collector: It doesn’t say. What’s the difference?
Me: One is older than the other. Do you have his age or birth date?
Collector: No, it just says Keith R. Bunn.
Me: OK, Sr. or Jr.?
Now, I just wore that collector out and many more after that one with that very same routine. Some of the calls lasting about 15 minutes.
But as I said, I was one of the lucky ones who never had a bad collections call. But some are not as fortunate. Some people get extremely rude collectors that will say anything to get money sent to them. Example, a friend of mine (we’ll call her Sue Smith) told me after the fact, that she received a call from a collector saying that she owed them $150. When my friend said that she didn’t owe that and that they had the wrong Sue Smith, the collector quickly came back saying, “Maybe so, but isn’t worth $150. to keep this off your credit report?”
I hate to say it, but she paid the $150. because she, like so many others out there, worship at the alter of the ‘Great FICO’. She was worried that her financial reputation was going to be tarnished. The point is, you have rights about how you are treated by collectors.
In 1977, Congress passed a law called the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act that makes harassing calls ILLEGAL. What do I mean by harassing? When the same company calls you multiple times on the same day, calling you at work after you told them not to, when they are rude to you on the phone, cussing at you, or threaten you. A collector can only call you between your time, not their time. A collector telling you that they are going to take your paycheck or garnish your wages before they have done a lengthy, legal lawsuit is also ILLEGAL (with the exception of
IRS, or student loan debt). The Act also allows you to stop all calls from collectors except of notifying you of a lawsuit, which I don’t recommend except in horrible situations.
Remember, these collectors are idiots in cubicles hundreds of miles away. Their whole script is to make you angry and/or afraid because that’s when you are most vulnerable and make the wrong decision. If unsure what to do, seek the advice of someone you trust and talk to them about it before doing anything. Know your rights and don’t let these butt heads beat you up with your FICO score.
"The only people who don't believe debt is stressful are those who have never been debt free."
- Larry Burkett –
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