If you use your credit card to purchase items online or in person in a New York department store and never make an effort to satisfy your debt, collections agencies have the right to contact you to attempt to secure payment. However, just because you have an existing balance on one or more credit cards does not mean people can hound you with phone calls and use aggressive, harassing tones to pressure you into taking some type of action.
There are also scammers out there, so the mere fact that someone on the other end of your phone line claims to be a creditor who is trying to collect a debt doesn't mean it's genuine. There are certain steps you can take to get a better feel for whether you think you are dealing with a valid phone call or someone who is harassing you. Knowing your rights and where to turn to for help to address relentless creditor issues are the first steps in the right direction.
Who is really on the other end of your phone?
You don't have to take someone's word for it when they call your house numerous times, claiming to be a collections agent who is attempting to garner payment for a debt. The following information may help you determine whether such calls are legitimate, and even if they are, what you can do about creditor harassment:
- Ask questions -- the bad guys won't like that: One of the easiest ways to determine whether a caller is actually representing a valid collections firm is to ask for a street address of the collections agency and also the original creditor's name. If it's a bogus call, the very next sound you hear might be a dial tone when the scammer disconnects.
- Request mail: By the same token, you can request that the company send you something in writing by postal mail rather than address collections issues by phone. If the person calling is not willing to do so, there may be a problem.
- Invoke protection in writing: The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act protects you from creditor harassment. All you need to do is send a written request, asking creditors to stop calling you. If you are aware of a debt, however, making such phone calls cease will not eliminate your debt.
- Reach out for support: An experienced debt relief attorney can help you investigate creditor phone calls to determine whether you actually owe the debt creditors say you do. An attorney knows what questions to ask to confirm that the collector is acting lawfully and that you not only owe a debt but the amount stated is correct.
If you have one or several debts in collections right now, you are definitely not the only one. There are approximately 70 million people in New York and throughout the U.S. in similar circumstances. It's not uncommon for minor financial problems to snowball into serious financial crises. However, it's usually possible to get things back on track if you know how to access available debt relief resources.