Creditors Keep Calling. Should I Answer?

As a bankruptcy attorney in Asheville, NC, many of my potential clients ask about what they should tell creditors who call repeatedly.  The creditor conversations usually go similar to this hypothetical conversation:

Stop calls, find peace of mind (photo: Skippyhaha)

“Sir, if we don’t receive at least $100 this month, we are going to be forced to take legal action.”

Or,

“This debt is already 4 months past due, I really want to avoid sending this to the attorney, can you borrow money from friends or relatives to make a monthly payment?”

Or, even worse,

“Unless you send in a payment by Friday, we are sending the Sheriff out to your house.”

A quick Google search about whether to speak with these creditors will reveal advice recommending that you contact the creditor as soon as possible when financial trouble strikes.  I agree with this advice when there is a temporary blip in your finances which will heal quickly within a month or two.  For example, when an unexpected medical bill throws you off track, and you need about 30 days to catch up, calling the creditor to ask for an extra month makes sense.

Speaking with creditors rarely works if you are in deeper financial trouble.  Collectors are generally paid on commission.  They are low-level employees without the authority to deliver real debt relief.  Instead, their goal is to get you to write them a check anyway or anyhow.  They use the tactic which might work the best: threats of the sheriff, calling you at work so your employer finds out, and sometimes, acting like they are your friend, trying to help you out.  Most of the time, these creditors have one goal:  getting you to write them a check.  I hear from clients who have been paying a small chunk month after month.  Their situation never changes because they are unable to afford making their loan current.

How to Stop the Collection Calls

If you find yourself being harassed by creditors, run, don’t walk, to speak with a qualified bankruptcy attorney or local debt counseling agent such as OnTrack Financial.  The calls are a sign that you need professional advice about your situation.  If you have already taken that step, take the Federal Trade Commission’s advice on how to deal with your creditors.  The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) offers protections to consumers which should, by law, end the calls.  In short, sending a certified letter to the creditor will either end the calls, or give you the right to sue that creditor for violating the FDCPA.

If you live in Western North Carolina, I would be pleased to sit down with you for a free, initial bankruptcy consultation which will deliver information about the specifics of your situation.

*The information contained on this website is not intended and does not constitute the providing of any legal advice or any legal opinions or services to any user thereof. The information available on or through this web page is not intended and shall not be used as a substitute for the advice and consultation provided by an attorney.  Any factual examples used to illustrate concepts are hypothetical and do not depict actual events or real persons.