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Question about bill collectors

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  • Question about bill collectors

    I will be stopping my credit card payments this week. I won't be able to file for 6 months, though. I have google voice set up and there is no job for them to call so I'm not worried about that. My question is should I answer any calls at all or just completely ignore them?

    I was thinking maybe taking a call once every week just to let them know I will pay as soon as I can (nothing more than that!) and politely hang up just so they know they got me on the phone to prevent them from trying to contact family members or neighbors.

    Is this a good strategy or should I ignore calls completely? Will they contact family members/neighbors even if I talk to them once a week?

    Also, if I don't answer them at all will that make them sue faster? I am hoping to get to 6 months without a lawsuit!!

    Thanks for any opinions/personal experience you can share. I know every case is different.

    Here's a few more facts if that helps. I live in NJ. It's all dischargeable credit card debt. I have a 10 yr old car which is worth nothing and no other assets other than my personal belongings. (clothes, furniture, etc) I do have a mortgage which is current and will remain so. I intend to stay and pay. So they will see there is "some money" to go after when they check my credit and see I am still paying the mortgage. One more note, the house is in my and my spouse name and only I will be filing. About $10,000 equity in house.

  • #2
    My .02. I would completely ignore them. There is nothing to be accomplished by talking to them other than to run up your blood pressure. I went nearly 2 years before filing and no one sued me. Some of these accounts were in 5 figures. Just hunker down, ride it out and file when you can. You are in control. Best of luck.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by bcss View Post
      My .02. I would completely ignore them. There is nothing to be accomplished by talking to them other than to run up your blood pressure. I went nearly 2 years before filing and no one sued me. Some of these accounts were in 5 figures. Just hunker down, ride it out and file when you can. You are in control. Best of luck.
      Ditto.
      Filed Chapter 7: March 19, 2012
      Discharged! June 28, 2012
      CLOSED!!! August 8, 2012

      Comment


      • #4
        I agree with bcss. We went a year and a half without any summons, and we had more than dozen credit card accounts. We just totally ignored calls and letters. Just forget about them for now. I wouldn't even open any letters, unless it's official summons (I wouldn't throw anything away though until bk is filed).

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by FrazzledinNJ View Post
          I do have a mortgage which is current and will remain so. I intend to stay and pay. So they will see there is "some money" to go after when they check my credit and see I am still paying the mortgage. One more note, the house is in my and my spouse name and only I will be filing. About $10,000 equity in house.
          Although I hope you can make it through the next 6+ months without a lawsuit, I wouldn't count on that. The two biggest factors which influence a creditor's decision to sue are the presence of real estate to which a lien might be applied, and the presence of other debts which are still being paid current. If you default on your credit cards, but keep paying your mortgage, BOTH of these factors will be present, and the creditors will see that when they review your credit reports at the 90-day late mark.

          That being said, even if the credit card companies hire a collection law firm at the 90-day late mark, they will still have to send a FDCPA notice letter and wait approximately 30 days before filing suit. As long as you answer the lawsuit, and assert one or more defenses, and serve the plaintiff with your own discovery requests, you should be able to drag it out for another 2-3 months. Hopefully, by then you will have filed.

          Comment


          • #6
            My opinion is that you can answer the call once a week or so and tell them that you can't pay right now because you are having financial difficulties and that you don't want to get into the details of that financial difficulty. They'll press and you'll find yourself repeating what you've said a lot. Do not give any more information at all. I'd throw in there that you'd like to pay off the debt, but cannot because of the financial difficulties. Do not update addresses, answer questions, or tell them anything else at all. But be polite.

            There's no harm in answering the phone (assuming you can be sure to give no information) and it may buy you some extra time.

            JMHO, and I was able to go 7 months without getting sued for ~80K of CC debt total.
            Chapter 7, above median, no asset. Discharged with no UST involvement.

            Comment


            • #7
              I would ignore the calls also. I did answer a couple of mine and all they are interested in is a date that you are making a payment. The ones I spoke to were rude. We went 3 months without paying.....

              Comment


              • #8
                I disagree with the advice that you have something to gain by talking to the creditors/debt collectors on the phone. The truth is that you do not benefit in any way from talking to these people, and could end up unwittingly disclosing information which could be used against you. I remember when I first quit paying all my debts--including two credit cards with balances of approximately $11,000 and $3500--and the creditors relentlessly called my phone, literally 10 or more times each day. For the first couple of months, I did pick up the phone, and I simply told the people that I had lost my job, and could not pay. That was, in fact, a lie because in reality, I was still working, but my hours were cut, and I was worried that I might be fired/laid off soon, so I wanted to conserve my money to pay my living expenses going forward, rather than old debt. (I was, in fact, fired 5 months later, so this ended up being a wise financial move.)

                Anyways, the creditors would try to ask questions about whether or not I could borrow from anyone else, whether or not I could get a payday loan/car title loan, whether or not I was getting unemployment, how am I paying my rent/utilities if I'm not paying their credit card, and so on. I repeatedly told the people--very courteously--that I had lost my job, was almost out of money, and could not pay. Nevertheless, they would call again in a couple hours, just to see if my situation changed. The thing that finally got rid of these low-lifes? My cellphone got disconnected, because that was one of the bills I quit paying. I replaced it with a home phone with an unlisted number.

                BTW, even though I quit paying ALL of my unsecured debts--credit cards, medical bills, and cellphone--in March of 2009, and let it all charge-off, I didn't get sued until September of 2012, and that was for Discover card, which had ballooned from about $3500 to $6068. I was actually amazed that they sued, since my credit report showed that I own no real estate, no vehicles, and I was fired from both of the past employers on there. I fought the lawsuit, and dragged it out for a good 3 months while I spent down my non-exempt funds, then filed Chapter 7 on their judgment, which was more than $8000. I guess suing me wasn't such a good investment now, was it?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thanks everyone for all your advise/opinions. I think I am not going to talk to them at all and just hope for the best. If they do get a judgement before I am able to file, there are no bank accounts of mine they can get. (all in spouses name only)

                  My fear is a lien on the house. If they were able to manage that before I filed, does BK wipe away that lien too?

                  I really appreciate you all taking the time to answer my questions. I am feeling much better today after reading the responses.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by bcohen View Post
                    I disagree with the advice that you have something to gain by talking to the creditors/debt collectors on the phone. The truth is that you do not benefit in any way from talking to these people, and could end up unwittingly disclosing information which could be used against you.
                    I see I'm in the minority, but I think creditors are less likely to sue if they think you're not not completely ducking them. I agree about being careful to not say anything that can be used against you.

                    Again, my opinion is the minority and I understand that.
                    Chapter 7, above median, no asset. Discharged with no UST involvement.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I talked to them once a week after I stopped paying my credit cards. The only thing that did was stop most of them from calling relatives. If I could do it over again I would have never picked up the phone.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by bcohen View Post
                        Anyways, the creditors would try to ask questions about...how am I paying my rent/utilities if I'm not paying their credit card, and so on.
                        Yeah, because who cares if you're unable to heat your house in the winter? As long as you pay your credit card on time.
                        Filed Chapter 7: March 19, 2012
                        Discharged! June 28, 2012
                        CLOSED!!! August 8, 2012

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I agree with most of the posts here that talking to bill collectors isn't worth it. Back in 2010, after I'd signed the paper work, out of curiosity I answered one of the calls. It was one of my business credit cards. I said I was thinking of going bankrupt, and the "polite" collector said that I definitely didn't have to do that and hold on he had somebody I should talk to. Then his "boss" came to the phone, and she said I definitely owed them, they knew I had property, etc.

                          Yeah, it was a complete waste of time.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by FrazzledinNJ View Post
                            Thanks everyone for all your advise/opinions. I think I am not going to talk to them at all and just hope for the best. If they do get a judgement before I am able to file, there are no bank accounts of mine they can get. (all in spouses name only)

                            My fear is a lien on the house. If they were able to manage that before I filed, does BK wipe away that lien too?

                            I really appreciate you all taking the time to answer my questions. I am feeling much better today after reading the responses.
                            A lein can be stripped if, it impairs an exemption you're entitled to take.
                            Be sure your lawyer knows about any leins or judgments.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by keepmine View Post
                              A lein can be stripped if, it impairs an exemption you're entitled to take.
                              Be sure your lawyer knows about any leins or judgments.
                              Happens every day to that "unsecured" debt. No big deal.......
                              All information contained in this post is for informational and amusement purposes only.
                              Bankruptcy is a process, not an event.......

                              Comment

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