Friday, August 2, 2013

How to Stop Collection Calls at Work

Few things are quite as embarrassing as receiving collection calls at work. Even if the collector doesn't identify himself as such, many employers frown at employees getting personal calls. It's illegal for a collector
Collectors calling you at work? Make it stop.
to discuss your debt with a third party, such as your boss or co-workers, but as we've seen in the past, just because its illegal, that doesn't mean it won't happen. Long story short, bill collectors calling your workplace have the capacity not only to shame you, but to put your job in jeopardy. As angry and frustrated as you may be, you have the ability to stop collection calls at work for good.

Read MoreCan Bill Collectors Call Your Family?

Stopping Collection Calls to Your Employer

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act governs collection tactics. It states that, while debt collectors have the right to call you, they don't have the right to call you at any time or place they they know to be inconvenient for you. If calling you at work is inconvenient, then its time to let them know that.

Your first course of action should be to tell the collector verbally that you cannot take personal calls at work therefore calling you at work is inconvenient. Make sure to use the word "inconvenient." Its a trigger word that some bill collectors are taught to listen for. Some collection agencies will honor your verbal request and only call you after hours. Others will ignore you. Keep in mind that a debt collector who doesn't know the ropes may not understand your rights. Feel free to cite Section 605 of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act in your conversation. Inform the collector in a civil manner that you are invoking your right to dictate the times and places that you cannot be contacted by a collector.

Read More: Can Your Record Phone Calls From Debt Collectors?

Cease and Desist Letter Stops Collectors Calling You at Work

If a verbal request doesn't work, its time to create a good old paper trail. Write a letter to the collection agency notifying them that the FDCPA protects you from receiving calls at times and places that aren't convenient for you. If you feel its necessary, point out that if the collection agency doesn't heed this request, you have the right to file a lawsuit against the company for damages due to its failure to adhere to federal law and any lost wages you suffer as a result of getting fired due to the number of personal calls you receive from collectors. Send your letter Certified mail, Return Reciept Requested. This forces the collector to sign for it--preventing then from claiming they didn't get your letter and continuing with the collection calls at work.

Read More: The Partial Cease and Desist Letter

Your Legal Rights Regarding Workplace Collection Calls

Odds are that once you've sent the collection agency a formal request to stop calling you at work, they'll comply. After all, this demonstrates that you know your rights. Unfortunately, not all collection agencies are alike and there are always a few bad apples in the bunch. If the collection agency calling you at work is one such bad apple, a verbal and written request may do little to deter them. Should this happen to you, its time to pull out the big guns: legal action.

The FDCPA gives all consumers the right to sue third-party collectors that don't adhere to federal collection guidelines. If you've sent the collection agency a Cease and Desist letter and have been ignored, send
Write a Cease and Desist letter to the collector.
another. By sending a second Cease and Desist, you aren't attempting to make the collection calls at work stop, you're trying to build a strong court case.

You don't need a lawyer to file a lawsuit against a collection agency. You may even wish to notify the collection agency, in writing of your intentions. Few collectors want to face down a debtor in court over an FDCPA violation. The very fact that you're suing will likely make you--and your debt--more trouble than you're worth. Should you decide to sue, keep in mind that the FDCPA limits your damages to no more than $1000 unless the calls have caused you real-life financial  hardship. One example of a real-life financial hardship would be if the collection calls caused you to lose your job. Few cases of workplace harassment by collectors actually comes to this, but its crucial that you are well-informed of your rights and options in order to stop embarrassing collection calls in the workplace.

1 comment:

  1. Why not contact an attorney? The FDCPA allows atty fees to be paid for so it wouldn't cost you if an atty takes the case up. Once you have an atty it is against the law for the collector to contact you, they must contact the atty.

    I'd suggest besides only dealing with the collectors personally when they're harassing you if you've told them to stop calling is to contact your state's atty generals office as well as the FTC/CFPB.