After receiving a call today, which was not answered … thought it might be of assistance to others who have been getting similar calls and what to do about them.
First, never answer. By answering, you have established that you are an actual live person.
The caller now has two options: either keep calling or stop calling.
If you were polite and answered their first call…you’ve told them that you are NOT the person that they are trying to reach and you do NOT owe them any money… and even requested that they take you off of their call list, they will continue to call! Why? Because they do not believe you. These people do not believe that you are not the person they are looking for. They will badger you, even though you’ve told them that you are on the National “Do Not Call” Registry! They do not care!
Because you answered their first call, they know that there is a real person at that number. The spam caller/bot caller/debt collector will keep calling, hoping that someone will pick up again. Do not answer. The calls will lessen and will eventually stop… this process takes between four to six weeks.
Today’s phone call was from a debt collector… probably looking for another person with a similar name. What do you do if you were not aware of that “do not answer” first rule?? What do you do if you answered and explained that you are not the person they’re trying to find… and they continue to call???
Here’s what you could do:
- Request they send a letter to identify the actual debt. Once you receive the letter you need to send them a letter asking them to VALIDATE the debt.
- 99.9% of the time they cannot validate the debt.
- At that time they must stop calling you and remove their information from your credit report.
- If they do not do this you have the right to sue them up to THREE times the amount they are asking for.
Here is a sample letter you can use to send them… feel free to cut and paste! NOTE: This is NOT a legally binding letter nor is this site giving any legal advice… the following is a suggested response, which you can decide for yourself if you wish to use or not use.
City, State Zip
Collection Agency Address
City, State Zip
Re: Acct # XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXX
To Whom It May Concern:
I am sending this letter to you in response to a notice I received from you on (date of letter). Be advised, this is not a refusal to pay, but a notice sent pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 USC 1692g Sec. 809 (b) that your claim is disputed and validation is requested.
This is NOT a request for “verification” or proof of my mailing address, but a request for VALIDATION made pursuant to the above named Title and Section. I respectfully request that your office provide me with competent evidence that I have any legal obligation to pay you.
Please provide me with the following:
•What the money you say I owe is for
•Explain and show me how you calculated what you say I owe
•Provide me with copies of any papers that show I agreed to pay what you say I owe
•Provide a verification or copy of any judgment if applicable
•Identify the ORIGINAL creditor
•Prove the Statute of Limitations has not expired on this account
•Show me that you are licensed to collect in my state… and
•Provide me with your license numbers and Registered Agent.
If your offices have reported invalidated information to any of the three major Credit Bureau’s (Equifax, Experian or TransUnion), said action might constitute fraud under both Federal and State Laws. Due to this fact, if any negative mark is found on any of my credit reports by your company or the company that you represent I will not hesitate in bringing legal action against you for the following:
•Violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act
•Violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
•Defamation of Character
If your offices are able to provide the proper documentation as requested, I will require at least 30 days to investigate this information and during such time all collection activity must cease and desist.
Also during this validation period, if any action is taken which could be considered detrimental to any of my credit reports, I will consult with my legal counsel. This includes any information to a credit reporting repository that could be inaccurate or invalidated or verifying an account as accurate when in fact there is no provided proof that it is.
If your offices fail to respond to this validation request within 30 days from the date of your receipt, all references to this account must be deleted and completely removed from my credit file and a copy of such deletion request shall be sent to me immediately.
I would also like to request, in writing, that no telephone contact be made by your offices to my home or to my place of employment. If your offices attempt telephone communication with me, including but not limited to computer generated calls or correspondence sent to any third parties, it will be considered harassment and I will have no choice but to file suit. All future communications with me MUST be done in writing and sent to the address noted in this letter.
This is an attempt to correct your records, any information obtained shall be used for that purpose.
NOTE: If there is a topic which you would like to see on “REAL WORLD” Wednesday, leave your suggestions in comments…