“I just got a call from a debt collector, it’s the first call I ever got from them…what do I do now?” The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act provides a long list of do’s and don’ts for a debt collector. If this first call was alarming, or loaded with harassment or threats, call us and we can discuss representing you at no cost to you.
Otherwise, perhaps the call was harmless or you let it go to voice mail. Don’t be afraid to call back and ask questions. Find out who they are, who they are collecting for, and if they will be sending you anything in writing in the mail. Most importantly TAKE GOOD NOTES. Keep a call log with you, and when these calls come in, jot down the date, the time, the number that appears on your caller ID, the name of the person that spoke to you, and what was said.
If the call went to a location or phone, such as your work number, where you cannot take these types of calls, tell the collector. Be clear that you cannot take calls at your work or at that number, or perhaps on a certain day or at certain times. Collectors by law must modify their calling times and what numbers they call if they receive notice that you cannot take calls at that particular time or place.
Not all collectors are bad. Some present a meaningful opportunity to settle a debt for less than the full balance. But there are some unpleasant debt collectors, and though the first call or two may not be that harrowing of an experience, many step it up a notch on subsequent calls as their job is to collect money that is owed. It is always best to keep a log when discussing financial issues.
If you feel that you have been abused or harassed, that calls are coming into an inconvenient location or time, or that the collector is otherwise being deceptive, please call my office for a free case review.
Larry SmithConsumer Rights Attorney at SmithMarco, P.C.Larry P. Smith is a consumer attorney and the founder and Managing Partner at SmithMarco, P.C. He has tried dozens of consumer rights cases to verdict and has arbitrated over 700 cases. Additionally, he has amicably resolved over 3,000 consumer fraud, Fair Credit Reporting Act and Fair Debt Collection Practices Act cases via settlement. Mr. Smith has been a guest on multiple radio outlets including WLS and WGN in Chicago providing consumer advice. Mr. Smith also provides leadership and delivers lectures to the National Association of Consumer Advocates, The National Consumer Law Center, and the Chicago Bar Association. Latest posts by Larry Smith (see all)
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