Sometimes reading your credit report can be incredibly confusing. One of the most confusing phrases you can find on a credit report is “Charge-Off.” I remember the first time I was looking over my credit report and saw charge-off, I had no clue what it even meant. If you have struggled at any time in your life to make payments on time, there is a good chance you may have an item on your credit report that has those two infamous words.
Recently, a client of mine asked me what their rights were when it came to a debt collector using robocalling as a method to get you to pay your debts. These calls can quickly become annoying and you will find that they are being used more frequently. The robocalls can be very convincing and sound official, as they give your name, your debt and even the company you owe the debt to. They are meant to be that way, as they want to collect as much money as possible. So what do you do when they call multiple times a day, every day of the week?
Some may tell you to change your phone number, but I am here to say that you shouldn’t let these companies rule your life. Send them the correct message by using the law against them. There are a couple of laws that are out there to protect you when these things happen. The first is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the second is the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. This is in part to overeager telesales and debt collectors abusing those that they are calling. To take advantage of these laws, follow these two steps:
- Keep a Log of Every Call
Write down every phone call you receive from the collection company, this includes all robocalls and in-person phone calls. Write down the day and the time that you received the call. Debt collectors are not allowed to call you before 8 am or after 9 pm unless you have given them permission to do so. I would keep a notebook with me at all times. There were even times that I would record the calls that were made to me. Some states have stricter policies on recording, so check to see what policies are in place for your state.
- Write a Letter to the Debt Collector
When you get a phone call from a debt collector, ask them for their company name and address and your account number with their company. Inform them that you do not want to receive phone calls from them going forward, and that you will only accept correspondence from them in the form of a letter. Even though you have now informed them you will only correspond with them by mail, you will most likely still get a few calls. Because of this, send them a letter stating that you will no longer accept phone calls and that you want them to validate the debt. Do not give them any personal information, as there are many companies out there phishing for information to use for identity theft.
Additional Articles that May Be Useful: 5 Tips for Dealing with Debt Collectors and 3 Tips for Negotiating with Debt Collectors
The process may take a couple of weeks, but the calls should stop. If they do not stop making phone calls, they are breaking the law. When it comes to what a debt collector can or cannot do, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has given the rules to these companies. You should make sure you read these over to educate yourself on your rights. Be sure to file a complaint with the FTC if it continues to happen. You may also consider hiring a lawyer to assist you in the matter. I am not a lawyer, but I do know of an affordable solution you can use.
Be sure to know what your rights are when it comes to receiving phone calls from debt collectors.
Question: How many calls do you receive on a weekly basis from debt collectors? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
Debt Collectors. I think it is pretty safe to say that nobody loves receiving calls from debt collectors. One thing to understand about debt collectors, they are in business to do one thing, collect money. They can be aggressive and make your life incredibly stressful. Knowing what your rights are when it comes to these special people, can relieve some of that stress and help you get your accounts settled or removed.
There really isn’t much that I regret in my life, but there is one big thing that does stick out in my mind and that is my financial choices in my early 20’s. During my high school years, I did fairly well managing the money that I was bringing in from working. But, in 1999, I left to serve a mission for my church in Russia for two years. Upon my return, it seemed that my desire to be smart and save money went right out the door. After getting a job, and started earning money again all I wanted to do was buy toys, go to movies and hang out with friends. The amount of money I was making at the time wasn’t a lot, but I was living at home and didn’t have to worry about rent, food or expenses with my car. I wanted to buy so many things, and so I did what I thought was the best idea, applied for a credit card. I quickly started to fall behind on making payments on time and racked up a number of late fees.
If there was a chance that I could go back and have a sit down with my 21-year-old self, I would. So, what would I tell myself? I would sit down and discuss finances. Some things I would be able to apply to my life right away, and some things that I would wait until later on in my life. Here are five financial choices I would tell myself to AVOID:
In 2010, my wife April and I were newly married and had a large amount of bad debt, mostly mine. We were making our minimum monthly payments, but it just didn’t seem like we were getting anywhere. We started paying just a little more than our minimum payments on our credit cards and our student loans, but it still didn’t seem like we were making a dent. Just like everyone else, we knew that we wanted to buy a home in the near future. However, to do that we needed to get our debt to income ratio under control. Unfortunately, what we were doing wasn’t doing it fast enough.
We decided to take a different approach and the formula we used accelerated our process in paying off our debt. I can tell you that if you follow these steps, you will find the same success as we did and be out of debt much quicker than you would expect. The key here is that you must stick to the formula.