How to Get Debt Collectors to Stop Harassing You

Are those annoying debt collection calls getting to you?  A few years ago, it got to where we were afraid to answer the phone for fear it was another debt collector.  It kept us stressed out all the time.

If a company believes you owe them a debt, they do legally have the right to contact you in an effort to collect that debt. However, you have legal rights, too, and with just 30 minutes of work, you can get them to never contact you again.

Here’s how to get debt collectors of all non-business debt to stop harassing you.

Some Things To Do First

It probably is a good idea to actually talk to the collectors just once before you request them to stop contacting you.

That way, you can get a better idea of what’s going on. It’s possible that the debt is actually less than you expected. Or you may be able to negotiate a much better deal than you’d expect.

Often paying just a fraction of your debt is better for you, and for your credit, than if you just defaulted on the debt.

However, if you do choose to ignore your creditors, here’s how to get them to stop contacting you.

Cite the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act

The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) is intended to prevent debt collectors from acting out of line.  It prohibits debt collectors from using abusive, unfair, or deceptive practices to collect from you.  It can also be your main leverage tool when it comes to getting debt collectors off your back.

If you want debt collectors to stop contacting you, you will need to send them a letter citing the FDCPA. Ask them to cease all contact with you as required by law.

Make sure you send the letter with a return receipt, so you know when they’ve received the letter.

Once the debt collector has received this letter, they are no longer allowed to try to contact you to collect a debt. The only two reasons they can contact you for are to let you know that they’ve added you to their “do not contact” list or to inform you of further action, such as a lawsuit.

You can find many different templates for cease contact request letters by searching online (click here for one by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau). Just print one of these out, replace the address and mail it.

What Happens If They Still Contact You?

If they continue to contact you after you’ve sent them the letter, you have the basis for a lawsuit.

You can be paid up to $1,000 plus legal fees if a debt collector continues to contact you after you’ve requested them to stop. You don’t have to prove damages.

Using this simple method can get a creditor off your back in as little as 30 minutes. All you need to do is buy an envelope and stamps, print out the letter and put on their address. After that, you should either have no more contact or be eligible for a lawsuit if they keep pestering you.

There is a lot more information about how to handle financial problems on the the You Can Live Debt Free website.

What You Need to Know About Credit Card Delinquency

Credit card delinquency has become increasingly common during the past several years, but many people do not really understand what it is, how it works, or the problems it can cause.

Too many of us just don’t know how to avoid or solve this important personal financial challenge!

The good news is that dealing with credit card delinquency is relatively straightforward, once you gain a more complete knowledge of it .

When Do You Become Delinquent?

What exactly is credit card delinquency? A credit card customer is delinquent when he fails to make at the least the minimum credit card payment. Delinquency is separated into degrees that indicate how many payments have been missed. These ranges are often referenced in terms of days.

For example, on the day after the first payment is missed, the holder is one day delinquent. After you miss a second payment, the account is deemed to be 30 days delinquent and so on.

Theoretically, a credit card holder is delinquent after just one missed monthly payment. On the other hand, delinquency is commonly not reported to the credit bureaus until after two payments in a row have been missed.

What Are The Effects Of Delinquency?

Being reported delinquent to the credit bureaus most certainly has a negative impact on credit scores.

Scores could drop as much as 125 points with three consecutive missed payments. Once four payments have been missed, the impact on the credit score is more severe and the account is likely to be sent to collections. Legal action against the cardholder is a real possibility at this point.

How Do You Get Out Of Delinquency?

There is a way to stop and get out of delinquency. Making a single minimum payment ends the progression of the delinquency and keeps the account at the current level of delinquency.

This is crucial, simply because being reported to the credit bureaus 120 days late is much worse than being 90 days late. Making even one minimum payment can be an effective strategy to keep things from progressing too far.

Once you start trying to make up your past due payments, be careful to avoid these damaging errors:

1. Making less than the minimum payment. Unfortunately, making a payment that is less than the minimum doesn’t have any effect on the delinquency. So, when you make a small payment, it really doesn’t help the situation. This error can easily be avoided; just be sure to only make payments that are greater than or equal to the minimum payment.

2. Making only one minimum payment. Frequently, consumers mistake the minimum required payment with the total amount due.The total amount due is the amount that needs to be paid in order to bring the account current.

– This amount usually consists of several minimum payments, so it’s important to continue making extra payments until the account has been brought current.

Credit Repair After Delinquency

As soon as the account is current, you can start negating the consequences of the delinquency. The more the negative information is covered up with positive information, the less impact the delinquency will have.

Secured credit cards are especially apt for credit betterment. These cards require a deposit to open, and the cards are always approved for this reason. Since the risk is minimal for the credit card company, the fees can be less. Whenever you decide to cancel the card, the deposit is returned.

While credit card delinquency cannot be recovered from overnight, it is possible to suffer no lasting effects in the long-term. Once the delinquency has been rectified, the negative history can be diluted as much as possible.

The key is to be patient and acquire a secured credit card. Using that new card wisely will allow you to be trusted by lenders again. Credit card delinquency is a challenge, but it is a challenge that can be dealt with successfully.

Top 10 Highly Effective Personal Finance Habits

A big income and fancy degree do not guarantee financial abundance. Effective money habits are an important part of achieving financial independence. Over time, your habits will ultimately determine your outcomes. Choose your habits wisely and watch your bank account grow. A few new, simple habits can create positive change.

Add these money habits to your financial life:

1. Automatically transfer money to your savings or brokerage account. If left to our own devices, few of us would consistently put money into our savings account each month. Remove the temptation and responsibility. Save a portion of each paycheck without having to think about it.

2. Review your financial goals each day. One of the most effective ways to save and invest effectively is to review your financial goals and keep them fresh in your mind. Don’t have any goals? Make a few.

3. Only use a credit card in an emergency. Sure, there are cards that allow you to earn points toward good and services. But is the risk of running up your debt worth it? Pull out the debit card and save the credit card for emergencies.

4. Pay your bills weekly. Set up a day and time each week to pay your bills. Try to pay all bills at least 10 days before they’re due. Holidays and weekends can prolong the amount of time it takes for online payments to post or for the mail to reach its final destination. Avoid waiting until the last minute, and late fees will be a thing of the past.

5. Learn a little more each week. You might have had a single class on personal finance in high school. Any additional education on the topic will be your responsibility. Spend 30 minutes each week on a topic that will enhance your understanding of personal finance. A few ideas:

  • Managing debt
  • Investing
  • Retirement planning
  • Taxes
  • Diversification

6. Check your bank accounts each day. Take a minute and review your account balances. Everyone has unexpectedly run out of money at one time or another. Never be surprised again.

7. Live below your means. This single habit makes it easier to pay bills, save money, and avoid debt. Adopt a lifestyle that will allow you to save at least 15% of your paycheck and still avoid going into debt.

  • This where a budget really comes into play. With a household budget, you’ll be able to see how well you’re doing each month.

8. Max out employer retirement accounts. If your employer offers a 401(k) plan, be sure to contribute enough to receive the maximum match amount.

9. Eat at home. Every meal out costs a significant amount more than the same meal would cost at home. Plan your meals in advance and save money.

10. Comparison shop. Comparison-shopping can save money and prevent wasteful purchases in the first place. By taking your time, you’ll have a better chance of finding the best price. You might also find that the urge to splurge has passed by the time you find the best deal. Shopping around can be half the fun.

How many of these habits do you currently have? Consider the idea that every money habit you have is either taking you closer to or further from your financial goals. Are your current habits enhancing your finances or harming them? Evaluate your habits and rate their effectiveness with a long-term perspective. Decide to adopt one new habit today.

Advantages and Pitfalls of Credit Counseling

Credit counseling services receive a lot of mixed reviews. There are many reputable services, but there are also credit-counseling companies with horrible reputations. Credit counseling is now required before filing for bankruptcy.

If you’d like help with your debt, be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of using a credit counseling company.

Positive Features of Credit Counseling

1. They tend to have more clout with creditors. Some creditors are more willing to negotiate pay-offs and payment plans with credit counselors. You might get a better deal and more breathing room with a credit counseling service.

2. It’s possible to consolidate your payments. Many firms will consolidate your payments into one payment each month. You’ll be making a payment to the counseling company. Understand that the credit counseling firm must then make all the individual payments for you.

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