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Inhouse collections advice please

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  • Inhouse collections advice please

    Well - as I had expected the calls have started. It took no time at all for Discover to call -8 AM on a Sunday morning no less!
    I spoke with them and though the representatives I spoke with were _nice_ they did do quite a bit of probing and proding, but thanks to the experience of the folks here I knew exactly what not to say to them to make sure I would not hang myself.
    After this initial converstation they gave me about a weeks peace and now their calls are increasing on a daily/ hourly basis. Other creditors have followed in their footsteps and I have been kind of afraid to answer the phone - so I have not talked with them.
    My question is this-
    Does it help at all to answer and talk to them again? Will it slow down their calls again if I speak with them and again tell them that I am "In a bad situation" and cannot pay them.
    Will just making contact with me slow them down for a while or will they just call me again in a few hours?
    Should I just ignore the calls or should I attempt to touch base with them and inform them that I do not have anything to pay them?
    Any advice or tips here would be greatly appreciated. I am just in the "inhouse collections" phase here and am fairly scared and a whole lotta annoyed by the constant ringing.

  • #2
    There are numerous posts and several sticky's here about communicating with creditors, CA's, and other such scenarios - so I won't repeat what's already available for you to seek out. However, having 'been there' - I firmly believe in having an alternative phone service available if you can afford it. Until you get the calls under control, you might consider using a cell phone, a 2nd (non-published) number, or set up a VOIP service such as vonage or att call vantage. Turn off the ringer, and use the other service to check your vc mail. I prefer call vantage because you can set the entire system not to ring for a defined period of time, and you can filter those collector calls to get a special recording other than your vc mail or simply not ring at all.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by debitdork View Post
      Does it help at all to answer and talk to them again? Will it slow down their calls again if I speak with them and again tell them that I am "In a bad situation" and cannot pay them.
      Will just making contact with me slow them down for a while or will they just call me again in a few hours?
      Should I just ignore the calls or should I attempt to touch base with them and inform them that I do not have anything to pay them?
      The bottom line....NOTHING you do will stop the calls or decrease their frequency except paying your bills in full.

      If you are certain you are going to file bankruptcy, here are some approaches that members have used successfully to get through the constant creditor calls phase before filing:

      * If you don't already have caller ID and an answering machine, get them. If the phone rings and you see a number come up that you don't recognize or "Private Caller", it's probably a collections call. Let the machine get it. Leave an answering machine message with your full name included so the creditor knows they have reached you. That can slow down the possibility they will start calling family members or your employer.

      * Talking to the collections folks only increases the chance they will force information out of you that they can use to their advantage. When the calls get to the "I can't stand it!" level, turn off the phone ringer for periods of time or permanently and let the answering machine pick up all your calls. If you have a cell phone, give that number to your family and friends and tell them to call only your cell phone for awhile. If you don't want them to know you are going to file bankruptcy, tell them you are experimenting to see if you can get by without your landline.

      * If you don't have a cell phone, get one with a plan that allows you to pay for minutes as you go. Then turn off your phone ringer and implement the "call my cellphone only" plan.

      * If you have retained a bk lawyer, give the lawyer's name and contact information to all creditors who call. Many creditors will stop calling for a month or two even though you haven't filed yet because paying the retainer shows you are serious about filing. There are some who think that this will speed up court efforts, but in our situation, following our lawyer's advice, we started giving out that information and our creditor calls dropped almost to zero. We didn't file for five more months, so some creditors started calling again wanting our case number or lying and saying our lawyer's office said we didn't really pay the retainer. We just gave our lawyer's information again and hung up. This went on for five months before we actually filed. Some of our multiple non-secured creditors moved us to collections, but not a single creditor filed to force us into court in that time.

      * Some members have used alternative communication approaches like Skype and email only for friends and family.

      There are other excellent approaches besides these too. Everyone who has successfully survived the "calls are driving me crazy!" time, jump in here and share!
      Last edited by lrprn; 02-25-2007, 11:02 AM.
      I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice nor a statement of the law - only a lawyer can provide those.

      06/01/06 - Filed Ch 13
      06/28/06 - 341 Meeting
      07/18/06 - Confirmation Hearing - not confirmed, 3 objections
      10/05/06 - Hearing to resolve 2 trustee objections
      01/24/07 - Judge dismisses mortgage company objection
      09/27/07 - Confirmed at last!
      06/10/11 - Trustee confirms all payments made
      08/10/11 - DISCHARGED !

      10/02/11 - CASE CLOSED
      Countdown: 60 months paid, 0 months to go

      Comment


      • #4
        "The bottom line....NOTHING you do will stop the calls or decrease their frequency except paying your bills in full."

        That is it, right there....Irprn has it...

        You can invoke the law all you want, collectors won't even bat an eye.

        If you want to create a data base to use in suing these morons, then by all means record the calls. I do.

        It takes a bit of work though. I have software that logs the call, ID's the number(if not blocked), I record the audio. I then burn it to a CD.

        I forward the recordings to a legal firm in Chicago....but it will be months before I see any awards....if any.

        Don't want the hassle? Don't answer the phone. Get a cell phone with a number only your most trusted friends and family have, NEVER give it out to anyone else. Dump your answering machine calls every night. Turn off the ringer.

        Understand, it really makes no difference how you handle it. They will harass you to no end, and they will NOT STOP CALLING. Best not to give them any info to use against you.

        These phone reps are crack addicts employed by corporate collector idiots to do so. They really don't care one way or another.

        IT'S THEIR JOB TO HARASS YOU. If you don't answer, the auto dialer just calls another number. The phone rep doesn't care one way or another. Your just a voice on the other end of the phone.

        Want to see what your dealing with? Find a call house for a collector in your area(check the want ads)....then go visit around lunch time. Look at the people wandering around outside the building.....

        I did it, Arlington, Texas. The call house is just off HWY303 (Pioneer Pkwy) at Bowan....behind Mickie Dee's....What a bunch of low life depraved gang bangers....

        You wouldn't give these creeps the time of day in the local supermarket.....

        Believe me, your opinion will change dramatically.

        Best hope, once you file for BK, and as the collector calls AFTER you have the green card in your hand indicating that they have been so notified, THEN you have an easy lawsuit....Here in Texas you can do it in small claims court then have the case transferred to the BK court.

        BK judges really don't like smart ass collectors ignoring the automatic stay...really pisses them off.

        You will make some cash then...maybe enough to pay your BK fees....but the collection companies could care less. It's simply the price of business to them.

        Its alot of work though, and it does NOT end the harassment. They will keep calling you, your friends, family, boss etc. etc.

        Good luck,

        CPO
        Last edited by CPO; 02-25-2007, 01:07 PM. Reason: spelling

        Comment


        • #5
          Wow! Thanks so much folks.
          I guess I already knew the answer - I just wanted a confirmation from those in the know. I have read a lot about the collection agencies and your abilities to take action (or attempt to) with them, but I have been able to find very little about what you can or should do with the inhouse people.
          Part of me has been feeling guilty for not answering the calls, but if it really does no good then what is the point? Wastes my time - wastes theirs.

          For now - everyone in the house knows to look at the caller ID before they answer the phone (or don't answer as the case is most often) and I am looking at what services are offered by the phone company that I may use to keep it a little quieter around here - and will be looking into some of the avenues discussed/suggested above.
          Any other tips would be great - as I need all of the help I can get. It seems like a minor concern, but this is really becoming a big problem and I would like to know what all of my options may be.
          THANKS!

          PS- CPO - Remind me not to cross you. You seem like the sort of guy who does not take kindly to petty garbage. Good for you! : )

          Comment


          • #6
            "PS- CPO - Remind me not to cross you. You seem like the sort of guy who does not take kindly to petty garbage. Good for you! : )"

            Sorry, did not mean to come across as vindictive...

            Actually, I think it's my military background. I'm your most honorable, loyal and protective friend...

            As long as your not pointing a Kalashnikov in my direction...

            One learns what is important in life, when life and death comes your way. Between the extremes, life is all gravy. Sometimes it's great just for the experience.

            Don't take this collector stuff too seriously. Study the laws available to you, understand that most if not all collection activity is a bluff.

            Disregard posturing by collection agencies. It's an ineffective tactic when everyone can see them coming.

            Collectors count on you caving into their harassment. They want you to pay THEM money.

            Assess your situation in a business-like manner. Understand your options, and the protections afforded you. They are many.

            BK is a business decision. Treat as such. It's your money, you write the checks. Act like it. You don't have to give anybody your money, just like you don't have to open the door to your home, nor answer phone calls.

            Sometimes we forget, you have choices. Use them.

            If your judgement proof, at least to the extent that your happy with your position, then try to relax. This time is stressful for yourself and your family.

            Do not let collectors or others take control over your life.

            In my line of work, the second worst that could happen to me was my demise. Doesn't much matter after that. First was the others around me that had me most concerned.

            If you have family, and it appears you may by your post, then they are the most important thing right now. Don't lose sight of that. Educate them on your situation if appropriate. Don't sacrifice welfare and stability of your family to satisfy the transient whim of a collector.

            In Sun Tzu's "The Art of War," one always owes one's enemy your most effective efforts leading to victory. Anything less than maximum effort renders any such victory a hollow effort, lacking peace. Peace is won only through total victory.

            If you chose to take on the collection efforts coming your way, then I suggest you understand all your options and push to win. Only then will collectors understand your motivations and realize that you mean to make it painful for them to continue their efforts. In victory, you will gain peace.

            Otherwise, your efforts will be meaningless and they will conduct themselves as they believe: they can do as they wish 'cause debtors won't go all the way....

            Your choice....

            We will all survive these trying and interesting times. Think how boring life would be if everything was always perfect. An occasional side road is good for the soul.

            Think of this as a side road with new scenery. Just be mindful of the road conditions.

            Much regard,

            CPO

            Comment


            • #7
              Moderators: This should become a "sticky" for this forum because it has so much useful information for newbies in it.
              The world's simplest C & D Letter:
              "I demand that you cease and desist from any communication with me."
              Notice that I never actually mention or acknowledge the debt in my letter.

              Comment


              • #8
                Consider it stuck, GoingDown - thanks for the suggestion!
                I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice nor a statement of the law - only a lawyer can provide those.

                06/01/06 - Filed Ch 13
                06/28/06 - 341 Meeting
                07/18/06 - Confirmation Hearing - not confirmed, 3 objections
                10/05/06 - Hearing to resolve 2 trustee objections
                01/24/07 - Judge dismisses mortgage company objection
                09/27/07 - Confirmed at last!
                06/10/11 - Trustee confirms all payments made
                08/10/11 - DISCHARGED !

                10/02/11 - CASE CLOSED
                Countdown: 60 months paid, 0 months to go

                Comment


                • #9
                  In states such as mine, it is completely legal to record any phone conversation without informing the other party. I went out and bought a $12 recorder with a handful of 30 minute micro cassettes. I've ditched the landline and kept only my cell phone. I'm told there are also cell phones you can buy that will record up to 15 - 20 minutes of conversations. The problem is that they have limited memory space and you would just have to transfer the conversation to free up memory. I am just now beginning to get "unknown caller" on my caller ID. My intention is to immediately answer the cell phone using the speaker-phone option and record any collection calls. ( I have practiced this already and the recordings are incredibly clear!)At some point in a conversation, if the DC violates the law, or simply steps out-of-bounds, I'll then tell them I've been recording the call. I read several other forums on dealing with non-local debt collectors, and several folks have said in a "one-party" recording state, this usually stops even the most hardcore collectors for a while. If you are going to attempt this, make sure you get the caller to clearly identify themself and the company they represent. In my small rural city, the local CA tend to play by the rules as they know it only takes a debtor a few minutes to file a claim against them in the local circuit court. I've decided that before I select Bk as the final option, it wouldn't hurt for a few creditors to have to earn their interest.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Wow - what a great lot of advice and support! Thanks!
                    The calls are increasing daily and I have not picked up a one - as it is now my understanding that it will do no good to even attempt to communicate with them. I do have a question though and I believe it would do well here - especially now that it is sticky...
                    When the debt is sent to third party collectors are you notified by mail? I am curious about this purely from the standpoint of the angle that once it is sent out of inhouse collections I can send a "cease and desist" letter requesting the agency not call, but contact me only through the mail. (Not the case with inhouse collections) This would be a crucial time for most anyone in this process because it seems like you really do have more power- but how would you know if you have avoided the phone? : )

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by debitdork View Post
                      When the debt is sent to third party collectors are you notified by mail? ...how would you know if you have avoided the phone? : )
                      In our case we did answer the phone occasionally just to know who was calling us and how often. The company reps never told us if our debt was going to be sold before we filed. We typically found out our account had been shifted to collections when a letter arrived at the house from a collections agency with a new billing address demanding payment, or by starting to get calls from a new number that turned out to be a collection agency who either bought the debt or an agency that one of our creditors regularly shifted debt to that they were having trouble collecting. Also looking at our credit report was illuminating - we could see a clear pattern shifting to from our creditors to collections the month before we finally filed.

                      Anyone else here have had a different experience? Chime in if you have.
                      I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice nor a statement of the law - only a lawyer can provide those.

                      06/01/06 - Filed Ch 13
                      06/28/06 - 341 Meeting
                      07/18/06 - Confirmation Hearing - not confirmed, 3 objections
                      10/05/06 - Hearing to resolve 2 trustee objections
                      01/24/07 - Judge dismisses mortgage company objection
                      09/27/07 - Confirmed at last!
                      06/10/11 - Trustee confirms all payments made
                      08/10/11 - DISCHARGED !

                      10/02/11 - CASE CLOSED
                      Countdown: 60 months paid, 0 months to go

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        lrprn: Do you recall how long it was for the larger corporate creditors to send things on to the creditors? How long from when you simply couldn't pay anymore, did it take you to file?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by treehugger1 View Post
                          lrprn: Do you recall how long it was for the larger corporate creditors to send things on to the creditors? How long from when you simply couldn't pay anymore, did it take you to file?
                          We stopped paying all our non-secureds five months before we filed. During that time, only two of our multiple non-secured creditors moved us over to collections, and that was during the last month. Others were moving that direction, but our filing's automatic stay stopped them.

                          Most of the time depending on the non-secured creditor, you can have anywhere from 4-8 months before they move your accounts over to collections, and then another 4-6 months before the collection agencies or the original creditor moves to start filing court actions. There have been cases where creditors have moved even faster, and frankly with the increasing number of bankruptcies that are starting to appear again after the pre-Oct 05 peak, I won't be surprised to see non-secureds and collection agencies start reacting more quickly than they do currently.
                          Last edited by lrprn; 03-04-2007, 06:44 PM.
                          I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice nor a statement of the law - only a lawyer can provide those.

                          06/01/06 - Filed Ch 13
                          06/28/06 - 341 Meeting
                          07/18/06 - Confirmation Hearing - not confirmed, 3 objections
                          10/05/06 - Hearing to resolve 2 trustee objections
                          01/24/07 - Judge dismisses mortgage company objection
                          09/27/07 - Confirmed at last!
                          06/10/11 - Trustee confirms all payments made
                          08/10/11 - DISCHARGED !

                          10/02/11 - CASE CLOSED
                          Countdown: 60 months paid, 0 months to go

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I think I would have to agree. If at all possible, don't shortchange local creditors. I learned the hard way last week. There are tow things about my rural locality: 1) National Corporations will take a while to reach you, but 2) local creditors can get the to court very quickly. I appreciated your advice eleswhere about the Moran law web site, and who to pay. I think it is wise for those with time to ask themselves, "Who is most likely to cause issues in the near (3 - 9 months) future. Cheers!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Discover has been calling me 6 or 7 times a day. Whats weird is as soon as I answer they hang up. One day I called them back, just to see who was calling, and spoke to someone. Actually pretty pleasant at the time. But the calls and hangups have not stopped. Either they just like harassing me or they have someone working in collections that dials numbers but is afraid to talk to the debtors.

                              Comment

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