My mom called this morning. Once again she got a call from one of those nasty collection companies. Mom always calls me when she has a question about that sort of thing. She didn’t know how to stop those calls like most ordinary consumers. So here is how to stop calls from collection agencies or anyone else that you don’t want to call.
Let me give you a little bit of background on the call. This company calls at least 10 times a day, and some days more. They call the house and her cell phone and have even been known to call my Dad at work. There’s someone out there with the same name as my Dad but a different middle name. They will call and argue with her and try to get Daddies SS# and other personal information. (Never and I mean never give a third party any of your personal information when someone calls you. You ask for the last 4 #’s that they have) anyway; so I told her that I would put down the steps to how to stop those calls.
1: Get a notebook………… this is very important. You need to write down the companies name and all the phone numbers that they call from. It’s important that you keep track of how many times a day they call. Keep this notebook by the phone. It’ll be the key if you have to file a suit or there is a class action law suite against the company. Besides if it isn’t written down it didn’t happen. It’ll take a lot of work but if you don’t do anything they will continue to call……By law they can only call once a day to your home in Virginia. In some states they can only call once a week and others only once a month. You need to check the laws in your state. Per the Fair Debt Collections Act; a company can be fined a lot of money for violating your rights.
2: Answer the phone…………. Yes you heard me; answer the phone. You don’t have to answer the first time or the second time but answer the phone. When you answer it find out the name of the person you are speaking to. Write it down. Get there first and last name as well as there call back number and extension. It might surprise you that a lot of collection company employees will give you a fake name and extension. Repeat it back and write it down………
Don’t answer a lot of questions…….you don’t have to give them your address or any other information. They called you, you control the conversation. While you’re at it, don’t give them your first name. I know that it’s become the norm but unless you’re my friend don’t call me by my first name. It also keeps the conversation business and less informal. They’re not your friend and they don’t have your best interest at heart. Just remember this is business not personal.
3: Get a fax number……….Be nice, you don’t need to answer any questions just get the number. Write it down. It’s important that you get the number so that you can fax a cease and desist letter.
4: Get the supervisor information……….…….. Sometimes they’ll act like they’re trying to find it and will put you on hold. Believe me this is a power play. Every collector has the name and the extension of there supervisor and won’t want to give it to you. Every call center has to have a supervisor on the floor at all times. In order for a company to operate they need to have a supervisor to make decisions and to monitor calls. Make sure to get there full name, call back number and extension.
5: Advise the caller to stop calling…………Tell the person on the phone to stop calling you. You want them to not call you at home or work or any other number they call you at. This person on the phone is gonna hem and hah and try to get you not to do that. They’ll even threaten you. This is a big no, no. Stand firm. Don’t make any arrangements with them just advise them once again not to call you and to contact you only by mail…. And end the call.
6: Update your notes………. When you get off the phone make sure to write down the conversation. Once again if it’s not written down it didn’t happen. Keep accurate notes and do not get all bogged down with personal information. If they called you a name write it down. If they didn’t want to give you information write it down.
7: Research the company…….. Find out the companies cooperate address, etc.
8: Fax……….. You need to fax a cease and desist letter to the number that you got from the collector. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy don’t try to be a big shot. Remember keep is simple. It’ll look like you were trying too hard if you get all miss smarty pants. At the end of this entry I’ll show a sample of a cease and desist letter. You just keep it simple and to the point.
9: wait 24 hours………Allow 24 hours to make sure that the letter went threw. Keep a copy of the fax and the proof of delivery. You need to give them time to input the letter in there system.
10: You’ll get more calls………….. They’ll say that they didn’t get the letter or that it’s not in the system. You’ll be surprised at the things they’ll come up with. Don’t get all nasty just say that you had told them not to call, and again get the name of the person that called. Don’t forget to write it down.
11: Fax…… yes fax another letter. On this letter you’ll state that this is the second letter that you have faxed requesting that they cease all calls.
12: Send….. You need to send a hard copy to the address that you got for the company. State in your letter that you have faxed 2 letters requesting that they discontinue contacting you by phone.
13: Call ……you will need to call your local consumer protection agency and file a formal complaint. Keep all of your information together. It is important that you keep accurate records of all the calls. Most companies will honor a cease and desist but some companies are unscrupulous.
I know it sounds like a lot to do, but there are a lot of companies out there that think they can intimidate the consumer and make them live in fear. You need to be pro active when it comes to collection calls, or any harassing calls. These companies think that the consumer will do nothing and most of the time there right.
If you cannot get a company to stop calling you then in some states you can take harassment charges against the company.
Example of letter
To whom it may concern:
On January 1, 2009 I received a call at XXX-XXX-XXXX from your representative Jane Smith. I informed her at that time to not call me at either my home or work numbers, and to remove my numbers from your system.
This is, therefore; my formal cease and desist notice. I further request that any further communications been done through the United States Postal Service.
Cc: your name
Make sure that you save all notebook entries as well as any letters or faxes sent by and to you………..
I hope this information helps someone else besides my mom…………take care and hope youy get lots of peace and quiet………