At one time or other all of us have been contacted by a bill collector. We forget to pay or fall behind on payments on credit cards, mortgages, cars, medical bills, or other situations involving bills. Then, we get a letter or telephone call. For some these calls can become a terror attack by their creditors. The creditors are calling at all hours at home and work. They are calling the neighbors, the family and employers. They are obnoxious, condescending and downright rude when you do talk to them. Despite the laws governing their actions many creditors and collection companies feel that an individual will not have the time, money or emotional strength to pursue them in court. Therefore, they get away with the outrageous and, sometimes, illegal acts.
If you have filed bankruptcy it is contempt of a federal restraining order (called the automatic stay) for the creditor or his collection company to contact you. If your case is still open 11 U.S.C. Section 362 prohibits this contact without permission of the Bankruptcy Court. If your case is discharged then creditors and their collection companies are permanently enjoined from contacting you unless they have received special permission from the Bankruptcy Court, or your debt is one that is excepted from your discharge.
Whether the collectors call themselves credit representatives, account supervisors, or collection agents, the bill collector’s job is to get money out of your pocket and put it into his or hers. These collectors normally are paid about 25% of whatever money they bully you into paying. They will not look at your account to see if the bill is correct, at least not in the initial stages of collection. The collectors or agents accept what the computer tells them.
The collection letters that you receive are usually computer generated and often do not have a signature on them. The collectors often threaten to report you to the credit reporting agencies and ruin your credit or threaten to sue you for the amount they claim you owe. Most of the calls come from outside the United States. Many of these collectors admit that they do not have access to the account records and “really don’t care if the records are accurate”. They just want their pound of flesh.
Perhaps the most annoying tactic, used by bill collectors, is constant telephone calls demanding money. The phone calls arrive at inconvenient times and places. The collectors often call at work and embarrass you in front of your co-workers. Often the collector has an obnoxious attitude and manner, acting like you are somehow a criminal.
Some bill collectors, especially in car purchases, come right to your door and annoy you at home. If the collector attempts to repossess your car, they tell you it has to go, it cannot wait, and you must turn over the keys now.