Debt collector Harrassment

I had a bill with AT&T for $296.38. The last bill was 10-09. They terminated the service after I tried to put the phone on vacation until I could pay it. Now there is a collection agency trying to collect. They started calling me at work in November of this year. I ask them not to call me at work. They made 3 calls in Nov. One day they call 2 times. I told them to call me at home. Some how they got my unlisted number. The first time they call me at home ws just before Thanksgiving. They wanted me to give them my bank acct. number. I told them I wasn't going to give anyone my acct. #. They said they could reduce my bill amount from $337.93 to $296.38. I repeated to them about not giving my acct. on the phone to anyone. I asked for an address and acct. number and I would send some money. They wanted to argue with me. I said I would send the some money. They finally gave me an address and acct. # but no business name to send it to. So I was going to wait for them to call me at home again to get the Business name. They call me at work again. I told them to call me at home and I would talk to them. Then at work again and told them the same thing. Finally they called me at home. We went thru the same thing about giving my acct over the phone and I said I would send some money. They asked how much and I said I didn't get paid until Friday. I wanted the full address, name included to sent it to. When I got paid I sent them #10 the first week, $10 the second week. Then they called me at work again Thrusday, Dec. 16. I told not to call me at work. I have not heard from them as yet. I want to find out if they can still call me and harrass me if I am trying to pay?
Thank you Jennifer

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Dec 22, 2010
Debt Collector Harassment
by: Mary

Thanks for sharing your collection story with us.

If you tell the collector not to contact you at work because your employer does not want you to be called there and the collector continues doing so, he has violated the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. By the way, it's best to put requests to a debt collector in writing. Make a copy of your letter for your files and send the letter via certified mail with a return receipt requested. If your employer doesn't want you contacted at work, I would go ahead and send a letter to the collector informing him of that fact. If the collector calls you there after receiving your letter, you may want to contact a consumer law attorney. Find out how to get FREE or low cost legal advice about debt collection from a consumer law attorney here.

You should also keep a Free Debt Collection Worksheetby your phone at home and work. Every time the collector calls you, record the details of your conversation on the form. The information could be helpful if you decide to sue the collector.

I'm glad you did not give the collector your bank account information! However, you shouldn't pay the collector with a personal check. He might use the check information to access more money than he is entitled to from your account. Pay the collector with a bank certified check or via Western Union instead.

Rather than just sending $10/week to the collector, you should have a written agreement with him regarding the total amount that you owe on your phone bill, the timing and amount of each payment you will make to pay that amount, and the amounts that you have paid to date. It's important to have all of this information spelled out on paper so that you can be sure that you and the collector are "on the same page" and because it will be helpful should you take legal action against the collector.

I don't think you can expect the collector to provide you with this letter, so I suggest that you write it yourself. Make a copy of the letter for your files and send the original letter to the collector via certified mail with a return receipt requested. Be sure to live up to everything that you promise to do in your letter.

If you continue having problems with the collector after you follow my advice, contact a consumer law attorney in your area.

If you want to learn about all of your debt collection rights, purchase a copy of Debt Collection Answers: How to Use Debt Collection Laws to Protect Your Rights, the book I co-authored with Gerri Detweiler. You can
read the first chapter of Debt Collection Answers online for free.

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