Collection calls are annoying. They’re stressful. They’ve been known to reduce strong individuals to tears, and they’ve been known to wring money out of people who will have to go without groceries or medicine to satisfy them.
That’s why it’s extremely important to realize what you’re dealing with. And what your rights are.
#1) Collection agents use psychological tricks.
They’re trained to wield disapproval and guilt. They play all sorts of psychological games to get you to pay up.
And these are just the ones who follow the law. The ones that don’t have been known to resort to verbal abuse and threats to get what they want, or outright lying.
Why are they willing to do this? In part, it’s so they can eat. Some of their compensation comes from commissions paid out on whatever they can collect. They also have bosses driving them with the same psychological tricks.
#2) Collection agents can be held personally liable for violations of the FDCPA.
They all go by aliases, but those aliases are assigned and on file at the collection agency. If you catch the agent in the act of violating the FDCPA, the agency isn’t the only one you’ll be able to sue.
It’s worth noting you’re unlikely to collect much from them. Most of them do not make much money. The hourly wage and commission rates aren’t that generous. Most do not earn a living wage.
#3) Collection agents may have bills in collection too.
There are collection agents calling you on the phone while they themselves are filing bankruptcy cases. The sense of moral outrage is nothing but an act for many of them.
Others actually enjoy the feeling of pushing someone into paying a bill, especially if they are doing alright financially.
#4) Collection agents can’t actually do anything to you.
They can refer your case up the ladder with a recommendation to sue. That’s it. And the collection agency lawyers don’t even always take their recommendations.
They can’t put you in jail or call the cops on you. They can’t do anything to your credit report that hasn’t already been done to your credit report. They can’t fix your credit report if you pay up. They can’t get your assets seized at the touch of a button.
Literally the only power they have is the power you give them by sitting and listening to them.
#5) You aren’t obligated to speak to them.
If you choose to block their calls, hang up the phone, or ignore them, they can’t do anything. If you demonstrate you know the law, most will stop contacting you on your verbal request.
Some will require a formal certified letter invoking the FDCPA and your desire to avoid talking to them, but you always have the right to send the letter.
You have options.
Don’t get bullied by collection agents.
Just treat them like the early warning system they are. They can’t do anything, but receiving calls from either a first-party or third-party collection department usually means you could be treading close to some financial consequences that can impact your life, like lawsuits, foreclosures, or repossessions. Bankruptcy can help.
And if you’re getting so many calls that telling them to stop is like playing Agency Whack-a-Mole, you might want to consider filing for bankruptcy just to get a little peace.