Jump to content

Sign in to follow this  
IDare

When CA's Attack! (on the phone)

Recommended Posts

It happens all the time: a new member joins the board in a panic after receiving a horrible phone call from an abusive collector. It took a really BAD call to shake you up enough to search the net for help. And here you are…

So what steps should you take to deal with an abusive, harassing, threatening, law-breaking CA?

<CLICK>

First of all, if they’re using the phone to upset you and your family: don’t answer the phone for them. Amazingly, this simple solution is often overlooked by people in a panic. They keep thinking they “have to†try to reason with the CA. WRONG!!! When you’re scared and confused, every word you say to an abusive CA is like spraying blood in a shark’s nose. Make sure everyone knows not to pick up the phone for “unknown callers†or anything that even remotely resembles a collection agency. If you pick up the phone accidentally and find a CA on the line, simply HANG UP. With GLEE!!! No explanation necessary. Teach the kids to do this too – make a game of it. Let the calls go to the answering machine. If the CA leaves messages, save them. You may be able to use them for evidence later. Keep a written log of each and every time they call, including photos (digital works great) of the caller ID showing date, time, and caller.

 

The CA should send you a letter with information about the debt within 5 days of their first contact with you. But the worst violators tend not to do this, of course. If the CA is sounding somewhat reasonable, try asking for their address. If they give it to you, great. But if they refuse, don’t waste time arguing over it – JUST HANG UP. All you need is the name of the CA. Then check your credit reports for listings or inquiries from the CA, or check here or on Bud Hibbs’ site for an address to send a DV letter with a “limited C&D†in it to stop the calls. Also prohibit calls to your place of employment in the same letter. See:

 

DV (debt validation) letters:

http://creditboards.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=92460

http://creditboards.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=131052

Limited C&D example: http://creditboards.com/forums/index.php?s...mp;#entry897075

 

Be sure to send your letter via Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested (CMRRR). Keep the receipt. Keep everything!

 

No Personal Calls at Work

If the CA is calling your place of employment, calmly ask for their name, the name of the company they’re calling for, their phone number, and their address. After getting this info (or if they refuse to provide it) then you inform them verbally that they are not to call the workplace because your employer doesn’t allow calls of this nature. You must also send them a letter to that effect ASAP. Fax it (if you can get their fax #) AND send it by CMRRR so that you’ll have proof that they received this critical notification. If they continue to call your workplace after being told that your employer doesn’t allow calls of this nature, every one of those calls is in violation of the FDCPA. Keep a log of each and every time they call. Record them if legal and possible. Keep any voicemail messages they may leave.

 

See a pattern here? You must learn how to use the laws that are in place to protect you from abusive collection tactics. This includes the FDCPA and state laws if you have them. You also need to learn to document and collect evidence. Letters, envelopes, receipts, credit reports, phone messages and recordings - it's all evidence. When you’re dealing with a CA who’s inclined to violate, they’re basically handing you the ammo to blow them away with. Your task is to figure out how to load the gun, aim, and if necessary, pull the trigger. Collect every shred of evidence possible to support complaints to the appropriate agencies when the time comes.

 

For the Record…

In some situations you may want to record the CA’s comments for additional valuable evidence. For example, if it’s one of those rabid raving salamander CAs who calls up making all kinds of illegal threats and demands, nothing is likely to send them scurrying for cover faster than suddenly finding out - after the fact - that you’ve recorded their illegal tirades. Recordings of their illegal tactics are their NIGHTMARE. But if you’re thinking about recording, you must check your state law to make sure you understand the laws first. You can find the information here: http://www.rcfp.org/taping/ Then see my Notes on Recording at the end of this post.

 

File Complaints

Telephone harassment can land a CA in court, earn them a nice fine, earn you an award in a lawsuit, etc. You don’t have to tolerate it from a CA any more than you would from a stalking ex-lover, a miscreant adolescent down the road, or a psycho stranger. If they make illegal threats to harm you or your kids, your property, your reputation, etc, talk to the phone company about what steps to follow to put a stop to threatening and harassing calls. They may give you a special code to dial after hanging up on the offending call, which will trace the call and log the caller’s number for the authorities to use in legal action. After a certain number of calls from the same number (usually 3) you can file a complaint with the police, who will contact the offender and take it from there. (I had to do this, and believe me it was effective.) Your phone company may have other options. Find out what they can do to help.

 

After gathering proper evidence you can also file complaints with the FTC, the AG of your state and the CA’s state, and state debt collector regulatory agencies if available.

 

Last but not least, with appropriate evidence on your side, you may at some point choose to file a lawsuit for violations of state and federal law.

 

On the Lighter Side…

One of the best ways to turn the tables on a harasser is to get creative and keep a sense of humor. Remember, their intent is to shake you up and freak you out. Their goal is to scare you senseless so that you’ll beg, borrow, or steal the money from somewhere to pay them to go away. (AKA extortion.) There are several threads like this that might help you put it into perspective: http://creditboards.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=184474

and http://creditboards.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=98583 are fun examples.

 

Abusive CAs count on “the fear factor†to scare you into doing what they want. Your best defense is to educate yourself. Study the FDCPA and learn how to use it as it was intended – to protect you from illegal harassment and abuse.

  • If the CA is upsetting you, hang up and don’t talk to them, period. Limit communications to written form only.
  • Prohibit calls to the workplace – both verbally and in writing.
  • If necessary and possible, record calls for evidence of their violations.
  • File complaints if they continue to harass you on the phone.

 

Notes on Recording Calls

 

First make sure you understand the law about recording: http://www.rcfp.org/taping/

 

If you are in an "all party" state, don't despair. Review your statutes carefully to determine whether you simply have to inform the other party that you're recording, or whether you actually need to obtain permission. Then you can answer the phone with something like, "Please speak loudly and clearly. This call is being recorded for forwarding to the Federal Trade Commission and the Attorney General's Office. If you do not consent to being recorded, hang up now." (Make sure you record that part!) Chances are the CA will hang up so fast there will be a sonic boom in the air. If they do choose to talk, you can bet they're going to behave themselves. Every time I mentioned recording to a CA they got off the call before I could finish the sentence. :glare:

 

Additionally, for "all party" states, think about this. Federal law requires only one-party consent. IF you use recordings in an FDCPA case, it should be in federal court - not state. IF the CA really wanted to go after you for recording them in violation of STATE law, they'd have to file that as a separate action according to recent conversation observed on a CA forum. And IF they did that, the recordings of them VIOLATING the law being introduced in that action would probably cause them more trouble than it would be worth. Things to consider. :grin:

 

Study PsychDoc’s Transcript #8 http://creditboards.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=142032 for more info on recording laws and how to use recordings to best advantage.

 

If you’re legally clear to record, next you need the proper equipment. If you already have a recorder and a pickup device, try a couple of test calls with friends or family to make sure everything is in working order. If possible, set up your recorder to automatically start recording incoming calls so that you don’t have to remember to turn it on.

 

If you already have a recorder, you probably only need to get a telephone "pick up" device. This is my favorite because it works with both my digital recorder and my old tape recorder, and with any type of phone:

http://www.radioshack.com/search/index.jsp...w=olympus%20tp7

 

My best recorder is a Diasonic model that came from a PI friend, but if I had to buy one I'd look at the Olympus recorders too:

http://www.radioshack.com/search/index.jsp...ital%20recorder

 

There are plenty of other options for recording equipment. Do some hunting around if necessary.

 

Once you have your equipment in order, sit tight and wait. Do not call them. Wait for them to call you. And make sure you know what and what NOT to say. The smart thing to do is to say as little as possible and let the CA do all the ranting and raving. Just act scared and confused, and occasionally ask questions like:

  • What’s going to happen to me?
  • What are you going to do if I can’t pay right now?
  • I don’t understand. Am I being sued?
  • I don’t have any way to get that kind of money. What should I do?
  • I can’t do that. Are you saying you’re going to seize my house/car/bank account?
  • Am I going to jail?
  • Why didn’t you answer my letter?
  • Where’s the information I asked for about this supposed debt?
  • I didn’t refuse to pay. I asked for more information. Why are you being so nasty?

If the CA is ordering you to go get your checkbook and give them a check by phone, simply say “No.†And then hush and let them rage. If they demand that you give them your bank account or ANY other information, just say “No.†Don’t argue. Don’t explain. Simply say, “No.†Keep your voice quiet and calm, or sound scared. But don’t shout. Don’t freak out. Remember, you may need this recording for evidence in court. YOU be smart, civil, and the kind of person a judge and jury will feel compassion and respect for. Let the CA be the salamander here.

 

After the CA starts repeating their script (they usually do) it’s time to go. Just say, “Just send all the info in the mail. I’ll take a look at it there.†This tends to send them into another fit of rage. Keep recording but don’t say another word. And try not to laugh! When they don’t get any response for awhile they’ll hang up and go find someone more rewarding to hassle.

 

And finally, if you’re going to record, you must read this thread: Shawnee’s thread: http://creditboards.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=131591

 

You CAN learn to handle these creeps. If I can do it, you can do it. I used to be afraid to answer my phone because of the CAs. Now the tables have turned because I know what to do. I have a nifty little digital recorder with a pickup device that works with any phone, anywhere. It goes everywhere with me (I use it for recording all kinds of calls and for taking notes, too.)

 

But of course now the CAs don't call me anymore. :dntknw:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This should be a sticky. Very nice job. Of course if you know anything about the laws the best way to stay on contact is on the phone. No matter how hard they try they just cannot follow the laws and the tape recording is the death of them. Oddly enough out of all my suits only one asked to listen to one of my tapes. I could have been bluffing the entire time for all they knew. Also, even though I record sometimes the tapes come out bad so after you get off the phone make a log of the time, date, who you talked to, and what was said. Then you sign it and date it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is an excellent post!!! Thanks Idare for pulling all of this information together into one easy to read and understand post!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Excellent post ID'H

 

If everyone follows this thread, all the CA's will be out of business in day or two..

 

Bumping for everyone...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Very well done!! Good info for all.

 

ditto!!! Thanks IDare, you're the best. ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am so impressed with this, IDare. Thank you for taking the time to write this up. It should be required reading for all who join CB.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Indeed. And for the newbies and the nervous, just remember CAs and their phone drones have ABSOLUTELY NO POWER over you.

 

Actually, IF you know what you're doing, they can be a lot of fun to play with over the phone. :(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Indeed. And for the newbies and the nervous, just remember CAs and their phone drones have ABSOLUTELY NO POWER over you.

 

Actually, IF you know what you're doing, they can be a lot of fun to play with over the phone. :(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OTHER THAN A CA NOW AND THEN...

 

(wrong number)

 

SHE LOOKS AT THE CALLER ID AND WON'T ANSWER THE PHONE FOR ANYBODY SHE DOESN'T KNOW!!!

 

I answer anything (have CALLER ID too)

 

IT TAKES 3 SECONDS TO SAY YOU HAVE THE WRONG NUMBER AND HANG UP

 

WE HAVE AN ANSWERING MACHINE TOO

 

(even if I am home)

 

I EVEN PUT ON THE ANSWERING MACHINE IF YOU ARE CALLING FOR XXXXXXXXX

(about a personal business matter) YOU HAVE THE WRONG NUMBER!!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What is the recording device you use?

 

I know in KS, I can use it, b/c my divorce lawyer informed me, it's not illegal in KS for only 1 party to know they are being recorded.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What is the recording device you use?

 

I know in KS, I can use it, b/c my divorce lawyer informed me, it's not illegal in KS for only 1 party to know they are being recorded.

 

 

Go to your local Radio Shack and ask for a phone recorder. They'll fix you up for $15-30. Money well spent. :wave:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

WooHoo!!! Idare you da man!!! Hmm, Hmm, sorry. :wave: You Da Woman!!! :(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thank you. Uder $30? I would have never have guessed!

 

 

That's the device that hooks the phone to the recorder. If you need an actual cassette recorder, you can pick up a Sony at Best Buy for about $20.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This should be a sticky. Very nice job. Of course if you know anything about the laws the best way to stay on contact is on the phone. No matter how hard they try they just cannot follow the laws and the tape recording is the death of them. Oddly enough out of all my suits only one asked to listen to one of my tapes. I could have been bluffing the entire time for all they knew. Also, even though I record sometimes the tapes come out bad so after you get off the phone make a log of the time, date, who you talked to, and what was said. Then you sign it and date it.

 

Good point about memorializing the conversation. Again, the key is to document - think EVIDENCE. It makes all the difference.

 

I *lost* some of my best recordings due to a hard drive failure a few years ago. :cry2: I thought I had them backed up, but noooo... that sucked. You can bet I have a fanatical backup system now. <_<

 

And I agree, once you have a good grasp of the laws, recording can sometimes be the best tool for catching violators at work. Everyone dealing with a debt collector really needs to study the FDCPA.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Indeed. And for the newbies and the nervous, just remember CAs and their phone drones have ABSOLUTELY NO POWER over you.

 

Actually, IF you know what you're doing, they can be a lot of fun to play with over the phone. :rofl:

 

That is so true. Once you learn about all this stuff, you can get to the point where you WISH they would call :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is excellent work. Everybody here will benefit from this. Thanks for taking the time to address one of the biggest problems we see around here. "simply hang up"... ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
:P I'm glad people are finding this helpful. There are a couple of other subjects I might do more in depth posts about as I find time. I remember how frustrating it could be trying to figure some of these things out as a newbie in a hurry with a CA breathing down your neck. There is SO much information here, it's amazing. But it can be hard to find it, especially at first. Maybe a "consolidation" like this could help out once in awhile.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i personally love to talk to all CA'as and telemarketers on the phone. I love to give them their own medicine. 100% of the time they have all hung up on me on frustration. I havent had one call me in some time.

 

The last one called before even sending the dunning letter. I was like, hold on? Then i said you owe me 450.00 and when can i expect payment. They are like what? And i go on and on. I'll offer then a 50% discount if they pay now and la la la la................They think im crazy and hang up........

 

Give it back to them is what i say...........Turn the tables on them. They think they are running things (CA's) but i show them who's the boss.

 

Try it, it will make your day........These are debts out of SOL i might add... But i have done it with small medicals as well........(In sol)

Edited by bobnurse

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Indeed. And for the newbies and the nervous, just remember CAs and their phone drones have ABSOLUTELY NO POWER over you.

 

Actually, IF you know what you're doing, they can be a lot of fun to play with over the phone. :P

 

That is so true. Once you learn about all this stuff, you can get to the point where you WISH they would call :lol:

 

They don't call me any more either though to my credit I never did freak even when they called multiple times daily......even when they cursed, screamed, threatened to have me arrested......or that time when they said they would report me to homeland security because by not paying my debt I was breaking the law and therefore I could be considered a threat to national security..........(no joke, this was actually said.....and recorded)

 

This is one of the best posts I've seen in a while.

 

Definitely needs to be a sticky.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ID...when was the last time I told you how much I love you...

 

I <heart> ID... :lol:

 

Actually, the best thing about this is that, I suspect, this might have been motivated in part by this recent thread where a new CBer needed a hand on dealing with phone calls and ID jumped right in!

 

Your advice is always rock solid ID!!!

 

Great job (again)!!! :P

Edited by stickyfingers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lots of great info here. I feel bad when people are bullied by the CA's. Since caller ID came out I've never ever picked up a telemarketer or a collector but in case I did by accident I have no problem saying wrong number or just hanging up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  




  • Today's Birthdays

    No users celebrating today.
  • Member Statistics

    • Total Members
      178,453
    • Most Online
      2,046

    Newest Member
    DexMoe
    Joined

About Us

Since 2003, creditboards.com has helped thousands of people repair their credit, force abusive collection agents to follow the law, ensure proper reporting by credit reporting agencies, and provided financial education to help avoid the pitfalls that can lead to negative tradelines.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Guidelines