Millions of Americans deal with unpaid bills or collection accounts each year. When you fall behind or miss a payment the account is sent to the creditor’s collection department or sold to a third-party collector. Collection agencies are infamous for violating the rules against aggressive phone calls and collection practices.
Collection agencies must follow specific laws when trying to contact you by phone, mail, email and even on social media. When they break these rules you have legal rights and may be entitled to compensation.
It's hard to avoid the first phone call from a collection agency, but once you've been contacted by them, there are several steps you can take to stop the calls altogether.
If debt collectors are calling your cell phone, do not ignore them. It's easy to take charge and make them stop. The law protects you. The first step is to tell them to stop. Talk to a real person and simply say, "Stop calling me." Or opt out using their automated system. Alternatively, you can send a short letter telling them to stop. Keep records of everything you do include names, times and numbers they called from. If they keep calling or you feel as if you are being harassed then call StopCallsNow.org now.
The first step is to try to address the issue before it becomes a problem. While paying the bill is the ideal, we know it is not always possible. A recent report stated that almost half of Americans don’t make enough to cover housing, food, utilities, health insurance and a car payment. This creates a vicious cycle of late bills and possible legal troubles. It is important, though, that you don't ignore the issue and hope it goes away - it won't.
In order to avoid having the debt turned over to a collection agency, you should call your creditor and explain that you are unable to pay the bill (and hiring a collection agency won't help you pay sooner) and tell them when you expect to be able to pay.