If being in debt isn’t stressful enough, creditors sure know how to make it worse. When you fall behind in payments, creditors will begin to bother you for the money you owe them. The further you fall behind, the more action creditors are going to take, progressively adding stress and embarrassment to your difficult financial situation. This non-stop pressure and continual reminder of your debt can begin to affect your livelihood, causing increased panic and anxiety.
Highly stressful and embarrassing situations can cause anyone to act instinctively and irrationally. Debt is definitely one of those situations causing common reactions such as blame placement, depression, relentless anger and a feeling of hopelessness. These can then create troubles in your daily life including poor performance at work or tense marital interactions. A challenging financial situation can have a snowball effect, tirelessly enhancing on your stress and contaminating your life and relationships.
Getting the creditors off your back may ease your stress and allow you to more effectively manage your debt situation. Depending on the creditors’ actions and your position within your debt solution plan, you have a few options to get them off your back.
Note: This debt solution requires creditor's cooperation.
If you are filing for bankruptcy, chapter 7 or chapter 13, creditors must stop their attempts to collect on your debt. As soon as you file your petition creditors need to cease all actions. This includes foreclosures, repossessions, wage garnishments and other miscellaneous collection actions.
If your creditor continues to harass you after they have been notified by the trustee assigned to your bankruptcy case you can file a motion with the court. The punishment is usually deemed civil contempt and the creditor will be issued a fine. If harassment continues you can sue the creditor, who will then be responsible for any of your legal fees incurred during the lawsuit.
Debt Consolidation or Management Program
Note: This debt solution is voluntary for creditors.
If your creditors agree to participate in your debt consolidation program they are required to contact your debt management company with any collection actions. If creditors do not follow these rules, you should first contact your debt management company and have them contact the creditor to address the issue. Continuing harassment may have to be dealt with by an attorney.
Note: This alternative to stopping creditor harassment does nothing to solve your financial situation.
If you are just beginning your debt solution, whether it is bankruptcy, debt settlement, a consolidation program, credit counseling or personal debt management, there are a few steps you can take to stop some creditor harassment.
Verbally ask creditors to stop calling you (it may help to explain your situation and let them know you are working on rectifying your debt). This option however, doesn’t require any action to be stopped on the creditor’s part, it is merely a request.
In order to stop phone calls you can also send a “cease and desist” or “do not call” letter to your creditors. This is a written request that prevents them from continuing to contact you. You should include your account number and request all further contact by creditors be done in writing. Make a copy of this letter and request a delivery receipt when mailing so you can prove the written request was made if the actions continue. If creditors continue to call, you can seek legal support.
If a debt collection agency is harassing you, make sure they aren’t breaking any laws set by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). If a debt collection agency (this doesn’t include original creditors) is engaging in actions prohibited by the FDCPA you can seek legal action against them. Some of these actions include calling at an unreasonable time (before 8 am or after 9 pm), threatening you or claiming you owe more than your debt.
None of these general options eliminate or alleviate your responsibility to pay your debt. If your debt remains unpaid your creditor can take legal action against you.