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Dealing With Aggressive Collection Agents – A Maryland Bankruptcy Attorney’s View
One of the worst parts about dealing with debt is the hounding creditor calls. They are almost constant for many people who come to see us. These collectors get paid by getting you to pay, so they call constantly. They try to work whatever angle you give them. Display a guilty conscience, they use it against you. Make a promise to pay, they demand more. Pay a little, they come again and again and again. Ignore them? They will leave long harassing messages. They’ll call the people you listed as emergency contacts. They may even call you at work.
It’s no wonder that so many people feel powerless before this onslaught. But they are not powerless. First, by hiring The Grafton Firm to represent you on your debt, we send out what is known as a Cease & Desist letter. This requests all communication regarding your debts come to us and in writing. If you’re hiring us to file your Maryland Bankruptcy, then we let them know that up front.
We also attempt to empower you, our client. How? With a notebook and a pen. You see, we have other tools at our disposal too. Creditors call too often and sometimes after hours. Collection Agents are not allowed to call you after 9PM, did you know that? They are also not allowed to make threats that aren’t legally available to them. They are not allowed to divulge your information to a third party without your consent. They also are not allowed to contact you at work after you’ve instructed them that you are not allowed personal calls at work.
All these rules (and more) and yet creditors continue to violate them. What is a person to do? Write it in your notebook. Keep a log of calls and of threats made. Record the days and times of these threats and what was said. Maryland requires the consent of both parties to make an audio recording of a phone call, so don’t do that unless they’ve consented to your recording. If they leave a nasty voicemail, save it. What you’re doing is building a case, and a Federal Case at that. The Fair Debt Collection Practices act is a federal law that was designed to stop the abuses in the debt collection industry. It hasn’t worked, but it does give us an opportunity to score some points for our side. One of the reasons it doesn’t work is because the Act only allows for a small amount of damages. Statutory damages are $1000 per violation. Oh, and they usually have to pay your lawyer for bringing the case too.
Have you been the victim of creditor harassment? Can’t get the phone to stop ringing? Give us a call at (410) 929-0330 or click our contact link for a FREE Consultation Today.