This is probably the worst aspect of being a broke-ass, being behind on bills. It’s not a huge leap in logic to assume that since you are broke, you are also neck deep in debt. Since you are broke, you probably don’t have much money to put towards the bills that you have either let languish or simply can’t afford to take care of. Being in debt can be very stressful. You have very little money to start with, you work hard to get it and when you do, you have to take care of the necessities and that leaves little to nothing to pay off old debts.
So what do you do when bill collectors are stalking your phone, mail box, relatives and your job? Become very friendly with the Federal Trade Commission’s website. Why, do you ask? You need to learn the rules of debt collecting. Knowing what creditors can and cannot do is the first step in relieving some of that anxiety that you have. A lot of people are not aware of simple facts like creditors cannot call too early in the morning or too late in the evening or that they are not allowed to discuss your debt with anyone other than you.
If you feel like you have done everything within your power to pay your debts and still can’t get ahead, it may be time to seek some professional help. Speak to a debt management organization, credit counselor, or if warranted a bankruptcy attorney. Be forewarned, there are a lot of scammers in this industry so do you homework before signing up for and most certainly before paying for any service. Talk to friends, do some background research on the company you are seeking to work with. A lot of these companies know how desperate your situation is and prey on you in your weakest moment.
There is one simple tip that is very ballsy, but can give you some peace and quiet from the never-ending harassment of bill collectors. You can just tell them you don’t plan on paying them and that they must stop contacting you. This has to be done in writing, and you must note that it does NOT stop legal action, interest accrual, etc. The only thing that this stops is the harassing phone calls.
There are many different tactics that you can use to alleviate the stress of being harassed by creditors. This is where the FTC’s website comes into play. For example, if they are calling your job and you are not allowed to receive such calls, simply explain to the creditor that your employer forbids such calls and they are NOT allowed to call your employer thereafter.
Of course, you could go hardcore and install a call blocker on your phone, ignore your mail, and pretend the debt collectors don’t exist. However, this becomes problematic when the sheriff shows up at your door with a summons because one of your creditors is suing you. I do NOT encourage you to blow them off all together, instead, find ways to manage the stress while you try to do the right thing. If it seems too much for you, please seek professional help.
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