What To Do About Unwanted Calls

There could be many reasons you receive unwanted calls:  (1) Wrong Number (including for debt collection), (2) Debt, (3) Sales Calls, and (4) Donald Trump wants your vote.  While there is not much you can do about political campaigns and wrong numbers, you may be able to reduce the number of calls for debt and sales calls with these options: Option 1:  Pay Your Bills On Time Generally this prevents creditors from picking up the phone in the first place; it also helps to build your credit.  BUT if that ship has already sailed… Option 2:  Ask Collectors to Stop Calling You can ask the debt collector to stop contacting you.  You still owe the debt, but you do not have to deal with all the calls and letters while you work out your repayment. Just because you owe money does not mean you lack rights. Write a letter to the debt collector or creditor asking them to stop contacting you, make a copy of that letter, and send the original to them, certified mail with “return receipt” so you will have a record of their receipt.  That should stop contact, with the exception of a communication to let you […] Read More

Are You Receiving Unwanted Calls?

If you owe money you may be getting calls from creditors or debt collectors.  To learn more about your rights as a debtor, visit the Federal Trade Commission website at http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0149-debt-collection. If you do not owe money and are tired of sales calls, try these free registration websites for DO NOT CALL lists at the State and National levels: National DO NOT CALL LIST registration: https://www.donotcall.gov/ Florida DO NOT CALL LIST registration: https://www.fldnc.com/   Read More

Not Going Anywhere for 20 Years?

The standard operating procedure in credit card debt is not to be sued by your credit card company, but instead by a third-party debt-buyer.  Most consumers arrive at Small Claims Court and the Judge says:  “Do you admit or deny the claim?”  They admit it, saying they need time to pay; then they make a repayment plan with the debt-buyer.  Instead of asking for verification, most consumers rely on third-party debt-buyers to have their facts straight.  That can be a costly silence. When you get a credit card, you sign a credit card agreement that says you agree to the terms of that contract.  That is not what the debt-buyer sues you on.  Instead of suing you on the credit card debt or contract debt, the debt-buyer sues on Account Stated. For debt-buyers it is a numbers game.  They buy millions in debt for pennies on the dollar.  They purchase a spreadsheet of data without representations or warranties, and they do not necessarily know that the information is correct.  The debt-buyer does not know if you owe anything or not. When pushed to a trial with live testimony, the debt-buyers lose.  In Small Claims Court we like to agree to […] Read More

Dealing with Debt Collectors

Jacksonville was recently named as a southern city with a disproportionate number of people in debt collections.  Debt is bad enough, dealing with debt collectors can be even worse.  You can stop the debt collector calls and letters, though, while you work on repaying the debt. Debt buyers purchase debt in bulk, often paying pennies on the dollar, then they attempt to collect the full amount.  It is a numbers game.  They will not collect on every account, but they try to make enough to be profitable.  There are good collectors and bad collectors.  A good debt collector knows how to inspire you to pay within the law.  A bad collector strays into unfair debt collection practices. Just because you owe money does not mean you lack rights. You still owe the debt, but you do not have to deal with all the calls and letters.  Ask the debt collector to stop contacting you with this sample letter drafted by the Federal Trade Commission.  Download the letter at http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0289-stop-calls-and-letters-debt-collector and complete the information as indicated.  You do not have to have straight A’s in English to get your message across. Read More

Dealing with Debt Collectors

Owing money is bad enough, but dealing with debt collectors who push beyond their legal bounds is worse.  For example, a debt collector may only call between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. your local time, and that debt collector may not cause your telephone to ring continuously or repeatedly to harass you. Just because you owe money does not mean you lack rights. Debt buyers purchase debt in bulk, often paying pennies on the dollar, then they attempt to collect the full amount.  It is a numbers game.  They will not collect on every account, but they try to make enough to be profitable.  There are good collectors and bad collectors.  A good debt collector knows how to inspire you to pay within the law.  A bad collector strays into unfair debt collection practices. The Federal Trade Commission has put together a two-minute video to walk you through the basics of debtors’ rights (you can view it online at http://bcove.me/t6s6l7lf); seek competent legal counsel if you need further assistance asserting your rights. Read More

Post Holiday Blues

Afraid to check your credit card balance after the holidays?  Wondering how you can go to the gym and work off two grand?  Before you commit your Social Security income to a Debt Collector, consider your rights. Remember, you need your house.  You need to eat.  Debt Collectors can be pushy, but making a credit card payment ahead of your mortgage payment may not be the best action.  You need a plan, and good legal counsel can be a lot cheaper than decades in therapy. The procrastination, the guilt, the insufficient funds—a proactive approach may be easier than to face your mother.  Get legal guidance on what debts should take priority, review the possible consequences and your legal options.  You may have more choices than the Debt Collector on the phone has led you to believe. Make a plan, one that does not jeopardize exempt income, such as Social Security, pensions, and disability benefits.  Even if you are in debt, you do have rights. To learn more about Consumer Rights and Debt Collection, go to http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre18.shtm or seek competent legal counsel.   Read More