Sunday, August 5, 2012

What To Do If Bill Collectors Come to Your House

If you owe delinquent debts, odds are that your communication with debt collectors has gone no further than threatening letters and a whole mess of  nasty telephone calls. If you're like some unfortunate Americans, however, a debt collector has shown up at your door. Few debtors expect bill collectors to come to their houses to collect payment. If you find a debt collector at your door, however, there are ways to protect yourself and make sure that the incident never repeats itself.

Don't Disclose Your Identity

Are collectors ringing your doorbell?
It's good 'ole common sense that you should ascertain the identity of any strangers who show up at your door. Although its unlikely that an axe murderer is prowling around in your neighborhood posing as a debt collector, its always a good idea to find out who your visitor is before answering any of his or her questions – that includes whether you are or are not the individual the bill collector is looking for. Debt collectors are prohibited from sharing any personal information about your debt with a third party, so if you suspect that the stranger at your door is from a collection agency and he won't disclose his identity or who he works for – neither should you. Close the door and go on about your day. If he won't leave, call the police. That's what they're for.

Prevent Debt Collection House Calls

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act notes that collection agency employees cannot contact you using methods that you have made clear are inconvenient to you. While this generally refers to making phone calls to your place of employment, showing up at your door easily falls into this category. If the last thing you want is to find yet another bill collector at your door, write the collection agency in question a cease and desist letter. Note in your letter that under no circumstances are any company representatives to come to your home to conduct collection activity. Send your letter via certified mail return receipt requested. Should another bill collector pay you a physical visit, you can then file a police report as proof of the incident and sue the company for violating federal law. Regardless of the outcome, its almost a given that the collection agent in question will find himself unemployed.

Debt Collectors on Your Property

There is one situation under which a collector has every right to come onto your property and that is to repossess secured debt. While credit card company representatives and unsecured collection agents are highly unlikely to come knocking on your door, a bank won't hesitate to send a crew over to your house to repossess your car if you don't make the payments. In this case, however, the bill collector isn't likely to knock on your door and ask you for the keys unless the car is locked away in a garage. If the debt you owe is unsecured by property, however, you have the law on your side to ensure that collection agencies can't simply show up at your door and, if they do, that history will never repeat itself.

Related Articles:

Send a Cease and Desist Letter to Debt Collectors

Can Bill Collectors Call Your Family?

How Debt Collectors Find You


  1. I'd like to add few additional points.
    1) One should also do basic research of agencies involved in unlawful collection conducts before.
    2) Even though you owe debt, one should not harass, humiliate or threaten the debt collectors.

  2. By signing a retail installment contract, you have given the credit agency or creditor's representative permission to enter upon any premises where said property may be to inspect, collect or remove the property without process of law in the evewnt of default.

    1. To repo a car yes. To collect an unsecured debt, no.