Credit card collection calls are not the same as collection agency calls.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) does not allow debt collectors to harass, embarrass or annoy consumers over the telephone.
However, the FDCPA covers debt collectors, not original creditors.
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How to stop collection calls from credit card companies
When you can't make even the minimum payments on your credit card accounts, you're in trouble. Your credit card balances will soon enter the debt collection cycle and your life is about to become stressful. Understanding who can apply for repayment and what they can do is crucial for you. Then, you can form a plan and get out of unaffordable credit card debt.
What happens when you stop paying your credit cards?
If you stop paying your monthly credit card bills, your card issuers seek payment. They may send letters demanding payment of past due amounts, or they may start calling you at home, on your cell phone and at work. They close your account and you won't be able to charge any more purchases or take cash advances. Most credit card companies or banks report your non-payment to the credit reporting agencies and your credit score will plummet.
Typically, credit card companies will chase you for about 90 days. At that point, they may write off the debt, essentially assuming you won't pay the bill. Then, they either send your account to a collection agency or sell it to a debt buyer. That party takes over collection attempts and begins contacting you.
If you want to stop collection attempts, it's critical to know what type of company is contacting you. Debt collectors and debt buyers are subject to a federal law that protects consumers and must follow specific rules during collections. Original creditors, such as banks and credit card companies, can often be more aggressive.
How do debt collectors work?
A debt collector is a person or company that attempts to collect payment of overdue debts. Debt collectors are third parties who work on behalf of the original creditor or credit card company.
Debt collectors are governed by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and must comply with its rules. The Act was passed in Congress in 1978 and was "designed to eliminate abusive, deceptive, and unfair debt collection practices," according to the Federal Reserve.
Under the FDCPA, debt collectors may not call before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. in your time zone, and they may not contact you at your workplace if they have reason to believe that your employer prohibits such calls. The Act also prohibits harassing and abusive practices, misrepresentation and unfair collection attempts. In addition, if you ask the collector to stop contacting you, the collector must stop contacting you, except to inform you that he or she will stop contacting you or to inform you that he or she plans to sue you.
It is important to note that original creditors (the credit card companies, banks or personal loan providers that lent to you) are not covered by the FDCPA and do not have to comply with its rules. Some states have similar laws covering collection calls from original creditors, but currently no national law regulates these entities.
How do debt buyers work?
Debt buyers are companies or individuals who purchase an outstanding debt from a creditor, usually for much less than the balance due.
Unlike the debt collectorsDebt buyers do not work on behalf of the creditor. Once they buy the debt, they own it. Therefore, as long as their primary business is not debt collection, they have the same collection rights as the original creditor. If the debt buyer is a bank, for example, that purchases debt in addition to its primary banking business, it is not subject to the FDCPA rules and can communicate with you just like your credit card company.
If your debt is being sold to a debt buyer, it is often worth exploring a settlement. Because debt buyers buy debts at a fraction of their value, they are generally more open to negotiating than debt collectors. This can often help you settle your debt for much less than you owe.
How to stop collection calls on overdue credit card invoices
Stopping collection calls depends on the type of company you are trying to collect from. If it's a debt collection agency or a debt buyer whose primary business is debt collection, is protected by the FDCPA and has some options.
Before writing a cease and desist letter, understand that once you cut off communication with your creditor, you may have no choice but to sue. For this reason, it may be best to keep the lines of communication open, even if it is uncomfortable. If you are working with a debt settlement company, you may choose to refer callers to your debt counselor.
And if you believe the collection attempts you are receiving violate the FDCPA or could be considered abusive or harassing, file a complaint with the CFPB, contact your state attorney general, or seek legal advice.