STEPS FOR THOSE ARIZONA CONSUMERS WHO ARE DEALING WITH A DEBT COLLECTOR
DEBT COLLECTION LETTERS
If you are receiving debt collection letters from a debt collector and not the original creditor, the collector must within 5 days of the first contact provide written notice that you have thirty days from the receipt of the letter to dispute the debt. You should:
1. Send a letter that says "I dispute the debt" and that you require validation of it.
2. Send the letter certified. You want to be able to prove that they received it.
3. Keep copies of all written communication both to and from the debt collector.
DEBT COLLECTION CALLS
1. Don't attempt to discuss or explain your circumstances, the collector is unconcerned.
2. Try to obtain the first and last name of the collector, the name of the collection agency, and the address. Try to find the address on the internet if the collector will not supply one.
3. Do not offer to make a payment over the phone, be careful about making a payment at all just to forestall further phone contact.
4. Send a "Stop Contact" letter. If you have obtained an address for the collection agency, send your letter by certified mail, return receipt requested. Tell the collector to stop contacting you. Make a reference to the account and the account number so that there is no question about the account. (They must stop contacting you upon receipt of a letter, verbal requests don't work). If a new collector attempts to collect, you will need to start the process over again, and write a separate letter.
5. Maintain a written record. Make a log of every call you receive or make to the collection agency, noting the time, date, name of person, company name, and what was said. Also, record the negative result of each call. Click here to obtain a sample log.
If you tell a collector not to call you at work because the company does not allow it, the collector is in violation if it calls you at work again. A collector can call someone other than you, but only to get location information, and the call can only be made one time. Collectors will often call children, parents, business associates, friends, and neighbors. This is illegal except to get location information. Again, always keep a log of calls to someone other than you.
6. Save voice mails and record phone calls. If the collector leaves a message on the answering machine, save it. In the majority of states including Arizona, you can record phone conversations without telling the caller that you are doing so. You should however make sure that the Collector is also in Arizona. I suggest that no matter your State, you warn the collector on the recorder, that you are taping the call. I strongly urge you to discuss this with an attorney.
Debt collectors are known for saying outrageous things. Also, the frequency of the calls may be a violation of the law itself. Click here to read about the steps to record a collection call.
IF THE CONTACT DOES NOT STOP, contact me to discuss your options.