Debt Collectors

ilene_in_neokMay 20, 2009

My 40-year-old son has poor credit. I have tried to teach him otherwise over the years, but my efforts have failed. My opinions about his responsibility, or lack thereof, is a sore point between us and not someplace I even want to go.

The problem is that his debt collectors have my phone number in their records and every time he is late in a payment, they call me. They want me to give them a way they can reach him that they don't already have, or to tell him to call them.

I've got a lot of problems with this!

a) He doesn't have a phone now, and they already know his address. If I had any information they don't have, I'd gladly give it to them.

b) I don't think his financial situation is any of my business, and I resent being put in a position where I'm supposed to tell him to call his creditors. He knows who he owes and when he owes it. I'm not his secretary. I refuse to take any message to pass along because if it results in his calling them back, that only increases the number of people who call me when he is in arrears. And if I say I'll pass the message along and then he doesn't call them, these people call me daily.

c) These people are RUDE! I have asked them countless times to remove my number from their records, as I am not in control of what my son does or doesn't do and I will not be a messenger for them. But they continue to call, and they make remarks to me as if I'm a party to my son's lack of responsibility. One such person even said they understood why my son was a deadbeat because apparently I was one, too. GEEEEEEEZ! We are getting, on average, one call every other day. I have started saying I don't know the person they are trying to reach. Sometimes this works but today I got a call from a particularly nasty man who demanded to know my name. When I told him I didn't think that was any of his business, he told me he would just continue to call until he got it. I hung up on him.

I'm not trying to protect my son from these people. This is very upsetting to me and I'm just trying to get myself left out of this equasion. Short of getting an unlisted number, is there anything I can do? It seems to me like this is harrassment. I don't owe any debts at all and yet, no matter what I do, I'm in the middle of this.

I've told my son not to give his creditors my phone number. And he says he hasn't, but they're evidently getting it from somewhere. My daughter told me he used her phone a few weeks ago, apparently to call one of them, and they of course have caller ID so now SHE's getting the phone calls too!

Do any of you know, is there anything I can do? I really don't want to get an unlisted number unless that's the only way.

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I would get caller ID and not answer the phone if you didn't recognize the number. There seems to be a recent upsurge in collection efforts. The price of bad debt has dropped alot so new collection agencies are getting involved. They've even started reselling very old bad debt, I had a recent collection effort on a 10 yr old medical bill. I just laughed and said good luck with that.

You could also try to get the collectors contact info and send a letter to not contact you.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2009 at 3:58PM
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No, debt collector's may not harass you. And, you're right. The behavior you've described is harrassment.

Here's an FAQ from The Federal Trade Commission explaining what they can/cannot do.

If the problem continues, report them to your state's DA's office...they might transfer you to another department.

The next time they call, tell them you are reporting them to the DA & Federal Trade Commission for harrassment. Be quick with your pen & write down the number before you answer the phone. If you have the name of the collection company you can Google that company & get their phone number. You'll need both of those to file your complaint.

I had some darn collection agency harrass me a few months ago for a student loan owed by a person with the same name as mine (but not me!). I got them to stop by saying this sentence and then hanging up...

"I have no information for you. My attorney has told me to inform you I'm reporting you to the FTC for harrassment." It worked. No calls since & I was getting several/day for 2-3 weeks. In my case, my DH is an attorney so my little sentence was true. Doesn't matter though...just say it & they'll stop.

Good luck!


Here is a link that might be useful: FTC - Debt Collection, FAQ

    Bookmark   May 20, 2009 at 4:19PM
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Wonderful advice triciae......I would copy your reply word for word and see what happens next....after one or two times they should get the idea. Report the incidents if they keep matter where you live it is pure harrassment. I too have been on receiving end of such calls and it is not nice.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2009 at 7:31PM
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Your prior mistake was admitting you knew him and you may well have admitted that he likely owes debts. They will continue to call you and your name and number will stay in their records that will be sold. They can track you a number of ways. Threatening with an attorney generally does one thing. Gives them something to laugh at you about. How many people will spend a couple hundred dollars to have an attorney tell them to change their number? Collection agents know "I'm calling my attorney" is a bluff 99.99999% of the time.

Collectors are telemarketers. Treat them as such. You can tie up their time, use an air horn in their ear, blow a whistle into the phone or just practice calling them every name in the book.

NEVER call them from your home or cell number, especially on a toll free number. Record your phone calls, if they threaten you, then take the recording to the police. Be sure to check the laws in your state regarding call recording, but at minimum if you think it's a telemarketer or collector, answer the phone with "All calls are recorded, go ahead". Ideally, use two forms of recording so you can play back part of a conversation to prove it. That will intimidate them. Be sure you practice with it a bit so you know how to use it and know it works.

When they ask for you, deny. Say "they moved". Maintain that every time they call. Be aware they'll call under different guises so be ready for it.

I had collection agents calling me for a while looking for someone with the same last name and first initial. We went around. Finally I was screaming enough, for fun, and got a supervisor on the phone. I traced their phone number to an office only a few miles away. The supervisor gave me his name (hehehe) and it was unique enough that I did some research and got his home address and phone number. So next time he called, I simply said quit calling me or there will be repercussions. I said nothing more. I don't make idol threats, and I never threaten with lawyer garbage. I then called his house and talked (nicely) to his wife and told her, tell Jeff I called. Maybe I can swing by sometime if you like and you're not busy. and mentioned to tell him that I talked to him earlier. Never heard a peep after!

Actually, I also had old roommates give out my number and I would get collection calls for them. I told them they could hire me to assist in finding them but otherwise I would not assist them without being paid and was billing them for this call. I got their company name and number and sent bills to them. Started making my own collection calls to them. I was bored and unemployed at the time.

Keep in mind that when hospitals, doctor offices, and the like ask for emergency contact numbers it's to get credit numbers to call if you don't pay. Also gives referrals. So never put someone's number down on those.

Keep logs and notes when they call. And it's a good idea to watch YOUR credit report.

It's frustrating, for sure. Just keep a level head and know that there's no quick cure.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2009 at 7:55PM
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Cynic describes these people well.

But, you do have control. Read them my sentence. They will stop. They are not allowed to harrass, threaten, phone at odd hours, or excessively, etc.

I also reported them online to the BBB. BBB responded to my complaint within a couple days. I did follow through & filed an FTC report also. But, I never heard from the collection agency again after my sentence.


    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 10:29AM
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Tricia, I'm going to try your advice.

I thought before I said anything I would ask for their name, the name of the company they are representing, and their contact number. They'll give it to me because they'll think I'm getting this information in order to comply with their request.

Then I'll use your sentence.

Cynic, you are an Eeeeevil woman. LOL

Thanks all of you for your advice. We've had the same phone number for years and I have cousins and such that I don't hear from very often but I'd like to still be in the phone book for times when they try to look me up.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 2:31PM
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If you are not the person who owes them money, they don't have a legal right to harass you as they are doing. I would definitely call the DA's office to find out where to report this and exactly what information you need.

Once you find out the facts of exactly where they should be reported, and then say what Tricia said to say, filling in the correct agency, chances are they will back off.

I would NOT blow a loud whistle or other kind of noise into the phone because they can turn right around and do that back to you. I would NOT call them names or engage in any other kind of conversation with them at all. Get your facts straight as to how and where to report them, then tell them that you will be doing that if they don't stop calling, using one sentence as Tricia suggests. Then hang up.

Every time you engage in further conversation, you are allowing them to insult you and ask more questions. It's like when telemarketers call, I say, Thank you, I'm not interested, and hang up the phone. Nine times out of ten, I hear them continue to talk as I'm putting the phone down, but I've already said my piece and the conversation is over.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 2:48PM
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You have to power, hang up the phone.

What a load of doo-doo that they are calling you.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 11:36AM
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I love all of these great suggestions :->

However, as a nurse, I just about wanted to jump out of my skin when I read:

"Keep in mind that when hospitals, doctor offices, and the like ask for emergency contact numbers it's to get credit numbers to call if you don't pay. Also gives referrals. So never put someone's number down on those."

While yes, we will call a person's MAIN number for billing purposes, we will NEVER call an emergency contact for anything other than an emergency. First and foremost, that would be completely unethical and while I don't know for certain I'm sure that dances on the edge of the HIPAA privacy law, and while some offices/hospitals/facilities may do that, the majority don't. It's completely up to you, but please reconsider.

I had a patient recently have a heart attack in my office. When the paramedics took her away in the ambulance, there was no one I could call for her because she had no emergency contact listed. Imagine waking up in the ER with none of your loved ones there waiting for you. There have been other incidents where I have spoken with an elderly patient on the phone and they just didn't sound "right" but there were no emergency contacts I could send over to check on them - very frustrating!!!

I supposed you could always refuse to list one when you're filling out your paperwork, but then give the nurse a list when you're back in the exam room and express that it be used by clinical people ONLY and no clerical staff. As your friendly neighborhood nurse I'd sleep much better at night knowing I could reach someone for you in an emergency :->

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 10:53PM
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Reporting to the BBB is really just a waste of your time. People just don't seem to understand that the BBB has NO enforcement power. They are simply a complaint database and in fact you have to meet certain criteria for them to take a complaint or do anything. If accepted, they'll send a letter. Whoopie. They may or may not get a response. Why anyone would respond to them is beyond me. They're not allowed to give out much information about a company anyway and since there's nothing they can or will do, well do it if you feel better but be aware that there's nothing they can do.

Again, actions speak louder than words. Report them. You can try saying anything, obviously there will be a couple who will give up on it but it depends on the amount and the persistence of the collector. I can say this, the short time I did collections, idle threats would simply make me laugh. However, I never went after the wrong person either.

Don't forget though, that as they sell the account, it likely will start up again until they're convinced it's not worth going after.

One thing I forgot, usually these jokers are on a headset, nowadays an ear bud.... hehehe... so if you start talking softer and softer and coupled with pulling the phone slightly away from your mouth.... they'll probably turn up the volume. :) Perfect time for the air horn. :D

I should make it clear that I believe rightful debts should be paid. Or at least negotiated and settled. I don't care if they're 10 years or 100 years old, they're still a debt IMO and responsible people pay their debts. People want their paycheck, why shouldn't they pay their way? I just like to make it difficult for the telemarketers and slimeballs that try to use people to collect. That's not right and needs to be dealt with harshly.

Oh, and you wouldn't necessarily have to get an unlisted number. You can change numbers and I would alter the name a bit, maybe use just initials or something. That would effectively give you an unlisted number without the cost.

And for the nurse who says they don't use contact numbers, you're wrong. My sisters account was messed up after she was in for a minor procedure (they entered the wrong insurance info) and guess who got a phone call? I assure you it was not an "emergency". Make up your own mind whether you want to subject friends and relatives to harassment. But be informed on the possible ramifications of your actions. Many people, if not most will wake up without their loved ones surrounding them. That doesn't sound right to me.

The example of the elderly person who didn't sound right really troubles me. Apparently you chose to not utilize the best option for an emergency, that is calling 911. I can't believe that! They will do a welfare check on a person, especially when a clinic calls and says something isn't right. They'll usually have you keep them on the phone or something until they arrive. They could also dispatch an ambulance if it's felt it's needed. Please keep that in mind for the future should it happen again. 911 is available for medical emergencies and can respond much faster than calling someone's home when they're at work and leaving a message and waiting for hours or days or longer for a response. Vastly better option than searching through records, possibly outdated, calling and not getting through for a variety of reasons. She could easily have died while someone was doing that. I'm totally flabbergasted by this. My father went to McDonald's the one morning and had a stroke. He was able to walk, but just unable to speak. I'm certainly happy that someone had the sense to call 911 rather than try to find a contact number of someone. Because of the judgement and quick response he recovered and lived another 20 years or so. If you have an emergency, call 911.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2009 at 4:54PM
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Cynic, I agree with you, a debt is a responsibility that I believe in following through. It makes me really mad when my grown children don't pay their bills. Not just because then I get the calls, but because all their lives, I have paid mine, even when I had to do without something -- or many somethings -- in order to do so. I wonder how DS would like it if my creditors called HIM?

I also agree that the BBB is the worst waste of time I know of. I don't know why it even exists, except that some businesses can put this little card up on their windows saying "BBB Member". To that I say, "Pffffftttt!" I've never gotten any help from them, whether I was looking for a recommendation or help with a business that didn't do what it promised. I think it just must be some kind of club for business members to network at.

I haven't had any calls from collectors since last Wednesday. I hope this means DS is contacting them and trying to make arrangements. Or maybe he's filed for bankruptcy. Or maybe the collectors have contacted an attorney. We don't know because he isn't coming around right now because he is upset with us for refusing to loan him money. I'm disappointed that it only takes something like that for him to break off contact with us, but so be it. He can stay mad till the cows come home, as far as we're concerned. When he's ready to come around again, I think we're going to have to have a talk.

I just couldn't bring myself to use an air-horn on someone on the phone, though, no matter what jerks they are. I have, though, asked telephone solicitors to wait a minute because someone's at the door and then just put the phone down and go do something else till I hear the "Please hang up and dial again" recording. But I do think it makes sense to get a collector's name and the name of the company they represent, and maybe an address of their home office. According to the FTC, they are required by law to give it, if asked, and not to lie about it. And if you write them a letter telling them not to call, even if you are the person whose bills they are, it is illegal for them to call. It just seems to me that this is such a breach of confidentiality. I know every time DS misses one of his payments.

The nurse mentioned paramedics taking the patients away and there being no family member there for the patient at the emergency room. So I think she's doing the right thing. I used to work in an ophthalmology clinic and sometimes we would send someone straight to the emergency room, finding their blood pressure dangerously high or low, hearing a heart problem, etc. If there was no family member present, one of our techs would go with the patient and stay till they got settled in or till a family member got there. However, according to what I saw on the FTC website, it is permissible to use any phone number you have in your records for billing inquiry purposes, as long as you only ask for contact information. You are not allowed to give particulars as to why you are trying to locate them. And this can send up red flags, too. Who knows? It might be an old girlfriend or the wife of a new one. LOL. Or a stalker.

And Stir-fry, it doesn't do any good to just hang up the phone. They keep calling. But maybe that would work to just get another number, not an unpublished one. If I didn't have a teenaged grandson in the house, who thinks every time the phone rings he absolutely MUST answer, then I would just let the answering machine get it.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2009 at 6:27PM
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Another fun way to get telemarketers/debt collectors to stop calling: Speak in another language. Even though you are going to answer the phone "Hello", that is not a problem. Many bilingual people answer that way. (the person on the other end probably isn't really listening at this point anyway...they are playing Solitaire on their PC while they wait for an answer.)

When they ask for Mr. XXXX or Ms. XXXX is when you can typically tell it's a telemarketer/debt collector. At that point, start speaking the other language. You don't have to be fluent. You don't even have to be saying anything that actually MEANS anything....just write down 5 - 10 phrases in German, Italian or Greek, and practice the accent a bit. (Don't use Spanish or any of the Indian languages - too many people in the US speak those. I have not experienced any telemarketers that speak German, Italian or Greek.) You can use this page to get translations and listen to the phrases. Just pick the language you want, then type in a phrase in the top box. Listen to the pronunciations - it helps.

It is HILARIOUS when you do it! I was dealing with telemarketers, and I used German. I'm sure this would be equally effective with debt collectors. (to anyone fluent in German, my apologies in advance for the incorrect grammar...)

"Is this Mrs. XXXX?"
"Ja" ("yes" in German, pronounced "Yah")
"I'm calling today to blah blah blah blah..."
"Vielen Dank für Ihren Anruf! Ich mag dich." (Thank you for calling! I am fond of you.)

Typically, the telemarketer would repeat their intro sentence. I'd respond with another random German sentence. Then they'd say their same sentence, only LOUDER or S-L-O-W-E-R. As if THAT would make me understand ;) I'd just keep babbling in German, and they would either mumble some kind of half hearted thank you, or simply hang up. I can't tell you the feeling of having a telemarketer hang up on YOU!

Here are some ideas:

Sind Sie krankenversichert? (Do you have health insurance?)

Hast du es eilig? Ich habe einen Kater, und Ich muss dringend aufs Klo. (Are you in a hurry? I have a hangover, and I'm dying to go to the loo.)

Ich habe kein Kleingeld, und Ich muss den Rasen mähen. (I have no small change, and I have to mow the lawn.)

Wie nett von Ihnen! (How kind of you!)

Ich fürchte, ich muss Ihnen mitteilen, du bist ein Dummschwätzer. (I'm afraid I have to tell you that you are a blithering idiot.)

Wie alt bist du? (How old are you?)

Ich brauche das Buch am Montag. (I need the book by Monday.)

Nehmen Sie noch andere Medikamente? (Are you taking any other medications?)

He, Kumpel, hör mal zu! Strengen Sie sich mal an! (Hey buddy! Pull yourself together!)

Lasst Blumen sprechen! (Say it with flowers!)

Ich glaube, ich habe mir den Knöchel gebrochen. (I think I've broken my ankle.)

Danke für Ihren Auftrag. Soll ich es Ihnen einpacken? (Thank you for placing your order with us. Shall I wrap it for you?)

It helps to speak quickly and string several of the phrases together. You can randomly repeat them too - the person on the other end will have no idea what you are saying.


    Bookmark   May 25, 2009 at 10:53AM
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Here is a link to a website I found to be very informative....check it out. Good Luck

Here is a link that might be useful: Collection Agencies

    Bookmark   June 6, 2009 at 4:26PM
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I am not the person you are seeking and no one with that name lives here, so in effect you have a wrong number.

The issue that you are calling about is between you and that person. It is none of my business.

I do not propose to get involved with it in any way ... as I told you - it is none of my business.

If they refer to your family relationship, you say that this issue has nothing to do with you, that it is none of your business and you do not propose to have anything to do with it.

If the person keeps talkiing, every time s/he pauses, you say, "As I told you - this is none of my business".

Then, "This situation has nothing to do with me - so why do you keep talking? What is it about, 'None of my business', that you don't understand?".

Good wishes for success in getting them to realize that calling you will get them *precisely* *nowhere*!!

ole joyful

    Bookmark   June 6, 2009 at 10:56PM
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OJ, I've tried saying those very things and it doesn't work. They still call, firm in their belief that if they do it long enough, pretty soon I'll tell my son, "call these $^%%#$##$@*))&&%^ people!!!!" and they will have accomplished their goal.

One of them called DD last week and made it sound like they were a friend looking for DS. When she found out they were a debt collector she told them she and he were not on speaking terms now and it would do them no good to call her. In the process, the caller told her that she was the manager and he hadn't been making his car payments and if they couldn't get in contact with him they were going to have to repossess. I told DD I think this is against the law to divulge that kind of information to a third party. I have been getting calls left on the answering machine as I've not been home. I called one back and told them what I was supposed to say, and the representative said she would remove my number from the account but we got home yesterday and found another message from the same place on the answering machine.

I talked to DH about getting a different phone number and he reminded me that our telephone company has one of those recordings that comes on and says, "That number has been changed to....", and an unlisted phone number will get in their hands, too, as soon as DS takes out another loan.

DS was here a week ago and DH told him were have been getting lots of calls. He has one of those phones that you buy minutes for now. He said, "Just give them my new number!" Which seems a simple solution but it isn't, because as soon as he closes out that number, and he will, they'll be back on us like a pack of rats, worse than before, because they got information from us. What part of "You're not getting any information from me so leave me alone" do they not understand? DS thinks we're making too much of this and is mad at us anyway because we won't give him the money we have scrimped and saved, so he can pay off the bills he's run up living carelessly. He told DD that he doesn't understand why we won't help him since we "can afford it", like it's any of his business whether we can, or not. But he can BE mad, and he can stay away as long as he wants to, because frankly, I'm pretty hacked off, myself, and he's not getting one red cent.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2009 at 12:39PM
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Ah weed30, you're the type of "weeds" I like having around! :D I totally forgot about that one. I used to do similar. Just babble some jibberish but it would sound like a foreign language and throw in some English words and act like we're somewhat understanding each other. Other times I did pick up a couple German phrases. Don't remember them for sure but one was "Is your daughter 18?" "are you loud during sex?" and a few others. And a few times just a personal challenge of calling them every derrogatory name I could come up with without repeating myself. The other phrase (came from the movie Top Secret) was something to the effect of I'll put your name on the Montgomery Ward mailing list That was a great movie, BTW.

As I said, and you can believe it or not, but you'll likely find out, there is no magic sentence to make them stop calling you. Idle threats of attorneys get you laughed at since they KNOW you won't. Actually, doing something like that can very likely cause them to harass you more. When I did collection and for that matter similarly when I did process service it was amusing at times. People would say the dumbest things. And not realize how much info they actually would give out.

ilene_in_neok, I can imagine how tough it must be for you to not just take the simple way and bail him out so to speak. I commend you for taking a tough-love approach. In the long run it's best for him. I firmly believe that and I think he'll realize it too.

A long story how we met and became friends, but a young fellow who lives in the southern part of the state and I met and got to know each other a bit and IM and email quite often. About 6 months ago he was on Welfare, food stamps, unemployment, thousands and thousands in debt to various creditors, behind on rent, eviction processes begun and he sat on his butt and did nothing. Well, I've sort of become a bit of a mentor to him in certain ways and I'm really proud of him. He got off his butt, went and found a job at a Walmart about 45 miles away as a janitor. He was a bit embarrassed about it and that's a peeve of mine. To me ANY HONEST job is respectable and you should be proud of it. He truly enjoys the work. He gets along well with coworkers and likes going in. It's 32-40 hours a week and they've started giving him more work because he hasn't missed a day in over 2 months of employment. So far, he's brought his rent current and keeps it up. He's paid off his phone bill, he's paid off past mechanic's bills, he's paid his Dad back 2/3 of what he owes him (his Dad loaned him money to fix his car after he got the job and was showing up - before that he cut him off), and he's begun on other bills. He's taking responsibility for himself now and respects himself much more. This guy is 28 and is thinking more about the future now. I'm really proud to see him start doing something for himself. My point is, there's hope for your son. Sometimes it just takes a little tough love and a wakeup call.

Good luck to you and your son. And have some fun with the calls!

    Bookmark   June 7, 2009 at 3:25PM
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Answer the phone by saying."Good morning (or evening) Sacred Heart Convent..."

    Bookmark   June 7, 2009 at 3:33PM
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Oh, and again, DO NOT call them from your own phone! I know I'm repeating myself, but it's important that you realize you do two things: First you are giving them your number (blocking doesn't work on toll free #s - don't be fooled) and secondly you're going to give your number an association as being valuable, responsive and cooperative for gaining information. Call from a pay phone, or better yet someplace like another collection agency, a law firm, hey, even the clinic that misdiagnosed a friend. No, maybe not there... that would be wrong wouldn't it?

And I disagree with Joyful on this one. They will not get the message when you cooperate with them and talking to them as suggested is still cooperation. When you talk logically to them, they'll still flag your number as cooperative and invite further communication. You need to realize most of these scum work on commission and don't have tons of accounts each so they can spend lots of time in the hope that they'll get something out of it. Make them uncomfortable, not comfortable. However, just tying up their time keeps them from harassing others. I have a cousin who loves chatting with telemarketers! He says I'm retired - I have nothing better to do. I can talk to them all day!

Here's a little gem I still chuckle about: A friend has a business and one of her customers that she had been having trouble with called up and just unloaded on her one time. Well, several times actually. He thought he was being cute by paying with money orders and "blocking" his number when he'd call. Well, after she had enough and told him she wouldn't sell him anything anymore and politely telling him off, he started calling her 800 # and being abusive. Nuff's enough. She looked up his number (like I said, you can't block when calling toll free) and she called up his wife. Knowing he was at work she called when he was gone a few times and just asked if "poopsie" was there and carried on in tears that the new fur coat had gotten stained and she didn't know what to do, have him call her right away it's an emergency! Then called later with another emergency that the diamond was falling out of the ring... and I don't know whether she called about being pregnant.... She wasn't sure whether to go that far. I nearly fell off the barstool when she told me that one!

    Bookmark   June 7, 2009 at 4:07PM
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I was in this same situation for a while. I always said "He does not live here. He does not have a phone. I will not take messages for him. I will not give out any information. This is not HIS phone it is MY phone and stop calling." Once a credit card comapny rep was extremely rude to me, in much the same way as you have experienced. I asked them who in their company was not doing their job, to give someone with such a bad credit history a card. The person then started telling ME to mind my own business HaHaHA! I got very apologetic call the next day from the comapny - apparently these calls are often recordedand reviewed for harrassment cases....That particular company never called again. My DS then paid all his stuff off - and last week his phone was cut off for non-payment....and he had the receipts to prove he had paid at the bank. It was kind of nice for me to see the tables being turned!!

    Bookmark   June 7, 2009 at 8:18PM
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I had the same problem when my deadbeat sister lived at my house for a short time. After she moved out, I soon learned she had a list of creditors a mile long.

What finally got rid of them by saying "She doesn't live here anymore...she also owes ME money. If you find her, let me know where she is".

It worked.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2009 at 10:09AM
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Lol, Monica! I bet that did work!

Ilene, so sorry you are going through this ordeal. You are being harrassed & have done nothing wrong.

Joyful Guy gave excellent advice, imo. Just be a broken record. Be unyielding & persistant & they will see that you can't be intimidated by their antics. I hope they leave you alone asap!

    Bookmark   June 12, 2009 at 1:17PM
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I have not had a call since Saturday. On Saturday, I had three calls. On the third call, I literally screamed into the phone, "WOULD YOU PEOPLE QUIT CALLING THIS NUMBER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" (I was not having a good day, anyway) and the guy hung up on me. Hallelujah, have I found something that works at last? I sure hope so. But time will tell.

No way I'm going to help them. Then I'll be their Go-to Girl every time.

But you know what REALLY frosts my cookies? I just heard an advertisement on TV. It was a car dealership. They said "Bad Credit? NO PROBLEM! We won't even check your credit! All we need to see is a paycheck stub in the amount of $300 or more a week!" Can you believe this? I know that when a person's credit is bad, they have to pay higher interest than people with good credit do. I'm mildly curious as to what the interest rate is on this kind of deal. I bet it's huge. Businesses that make this kind of deal with people are not businesses. They're rackets. Somebody that makes $300 a week is not making big money, even here in Oklahoma. Rent is going to take up AT LEAST one whole paycheck, and that's if they're renting a very tiny apartment in a poor neighborhood. And then there's utils and food and gas and all that other stuff these people buy. Are they going to have enough money to even make the first few car payments? I seriously doubt it.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2009 at 1:56PM
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Regardless of whatever tactics you use to get this resolved, I really don't think involving these people's personal lives is a good idea. Yes, it is messing up your life in a small way, however calling up wives and whatnot simply isn't right. These people are doing their jobs, albeit poorly, but their families did nothing to you.

Fatwallet has a mamber, codename47, that assists in situations such as this. If you can't find your answer with the search provided below, specifically codename47 vs NCS, start a new thread.

Here is a link that might be useful: Fatwallet codename47

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 3:35PM
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If I was getting these kinds of calls from a collection agency then I would keep a whistle, a nice, loud ear-piercing whistle, near my phone. After making sure that this was the same collections agency that I'd already received annoying calls from earlier, I would put my whistle to good use. I think that would be quite effective.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2009 at 10:48PM
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Maybe I'm too easy-going, but I feel disinclined to abuse someone's eardrums by blasting them with a loud, shrill whistle ...

... well ... most of the time.

Also, being retired, I have more time than many who are in the midst of their career, or being a homemaker (with multiple kids to drive them up the wall on occasion).

I think that I prefer the business of telling them that, as I've told them before, that the person whom they're seeking doesn't live here, so they're calling the wrong number. I have no intention of passing on messages. Their calling this number has been useless thus far ... and I can assure them that it will continue to be so.

That "No" is a simple expression ... what is it about "No" that they don't understand?

I hope that you're having a good start to summer (and that the calls stop well before the end of it)!

ole joyful

    Bookmark   June 23, 2009 at 11:56PM
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I have to agree with Ole Joyful. Although it "sounds" like an effective strategy ... as a person who has suffered 100% loss of hearing on one side and the associated complication of tinnitus, I wouldn't purposely inflict hearing damage on anyone.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2009 at 5:03AM
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Yes, I agree, too. I wouldn't want to ruin someone's hearing. I'm not so sure that you couldn't be sued for doing this. I've seen suggestions to use a whistle when the caller is obscene, but that's a whole different annoyance. Even then, if that caller has your phone number, they may also have your address. Don't know if I'd want to make things worse. Debt collectors are just doing their job, I guess. Maybe the reason they're so hateful and nasty is because this is the only job they can find right now. I've thought of saying, "My heavens, man, is this the only job you can find right now?"

I know some people really enjoy being rude and mean. Debt collection is tailor-made for them. When someone cannot pay their bills, everyone knows it's the squeaky wheel that gets the grease.

Reminds me of a joke I once heard about a man in the same situation as DS. Finally he said to one of his creditors, "Listen, pal, when I get a bill, I put it in a coffee can with all the others. When I have money, I take them out, one at a time, and pay each one till the money's gone. If you don't quit harassing me about payment, I'm not even going to put your bill in the can!!" LOL

If I can make it to Saturday without getting a call, I will not have had a call in three weeks! Apparently screaming at the caller works. DS told me that now the debt collectors are calling his neighbors. I guess the sky's the limit when it comes to debt collecting.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2009 at 1:39PM
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Two tips.

1. Oklahoma has the "Do Not Call" list, which allows you to request that your number be removed from unsolicited calls. You can report offending businesses who will be prosecuted by the state. Since Your Son is no longer a dependent you are not an allowed contact by his creditors (unless you've cosigned for a loan with a creditor).

That should slow them down a lot. I believe its $1500 per offense after a warning.

2. A friend who used to work in telemarketing as a supervisor passed on these tips a while back:
* time is money and if they aren't getting results from your call they want to make another put them on hold, put the phone down to "get a pen and paper", say, "hang on, someone is at the front door" and place the phone on the counter...
* be purposefully dense. Make them repeat each piece of information several times...tell them you're recording the call (if you are, don't lie) AND are making a transcription as you go. Go ahead and transcribe for a bit, maybe 50 words, and then when they try to move forward go back and ask about the 1st 50 words again...
* hand the phone to a child under age 5 and tell them to talk about their favorite TV show or movie while you go to the bathroom, then hand them the phone and go to the bathroom...
* never acknowledging your name, ask "do you know who this really is?" Over and over. Inquire about their name again, and then say, "you are Mike Smith, right? Mike Smith, do you have any idea who you've actually got on the phone right now?"

What you are doing is making it unprofitable for them to continue calling. They expect hang-ups or hatred. They can use that against your son. They don't know how to classify you having fun at their expense. Literally. Time is Money, y'know.

One final option - mention that you've broken off contact with your son and don't anticipate hearing from him again...add, "if you do talk to him tell him not to call Mommy any more" but be sure and tell your son your tactics.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 1:57AM
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Its 100% harassment. Although your the mother of the person whom they are looking for, they don't have the right to do such action. Your son has the full responsibility towards this situation. I'm sure he knows what you're going through because of his fault. As parents, our primary objective is to take care of our children. Even though he is in the right age we are still oblige to help them get out of this problem.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2009 at 5:42AM
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I don't feel obligated to help my 40YO son get out of his debt problems. I've done it before and he still owes me for that. Plus he's living in a house that I bought and he promised to make payments on till he's paid me back and I have not seen a payment in four months now, though he's promised to make one at the end of this month. I think I've gone above and beyond the call, already.

His debt problems have put a wedge between him and us. He is disappointed in us because we refused to help him this time. We think it is enough that he gets to live in a house we own and not make payments for four months. In a way, we HAVE loaned him money because he has the money that, had he been renting, he would've had to pay to his landlord. We are disappointed in him, for getting himself in this situation to begin with, for expecting us to come thundering to his aid now that he's gone so far beyond the help that our sage advice would've been to him, had he expressed any interest in hearing it earlier, and for subjecting us to harrassment from his creditors.

The one creditor that we were having so much trouble with, I did take that advice and told the man on the other end of the line that if I received one more call from them I'd report them. I never received another call and a week later they repo-d his pick-up, which DS had entrusted to a friend who had promised to make the payments and then didn't. There was another creditor who was making daily calls, using a recording. They have now stopped as well, we don't know if they finally gave up or if DS has taken care of them.

The thing that bothers me the most about this whole thing is DS' resentment towards us for not just happily turning over to him the money that we have busted our chops to earn and to manage carefully all our lives -- money that we may very well need desperately before our lives are over -- as if he has a "right" to it. We are in our 60's.

But I guess the thing that bothers me the most is that, ten years ago, DH, after 30+ years of working as a welder, had to go on Disability. During that time when he hadn't been approved yet, and when he couldn't work, we were very worried. There was no money coming in and we did not have insurance. We had a small amount of savings and I was looking for a job. DS at this time told us we didn't have anything to worry about -- he said, "You could always sell your house." That's how HE thundered to OUR aid.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2009 at 3:00PM
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gardenlover, I totally disagree that ilene is obligated to help her son. He's MORE than old enough to get himself out of this mess, and she and her husband have already done more than I would have! He'll never change his ways if they continue to bail him out time and time again. It is sad that it's driving a wedge between them, but it sounds like he needs to get his head out of his butt.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2009 at 3:19PM
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Call me mean, but the old boy scout whistle works for me. And, oh! Caller ID too!

    Bookmark   February 16, 2011 at 11:43AM
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I haven't been back here for a long time obviously but sheesh I can't believe the naivety of some.

If anyone thinks that you can develop hearing loss from listening to a whistle being blown over a phone has absolutely NO idea of telephones. How is it different than screaming at them over the phone? Huh? It isn't? Oh, gee. Is this how we say "duh!"? Un-freaking-believable! LOL

And do not call lists apply to telemarketer scum, not to collection agents. Nor do they apply to charities, politicians or companies with whom you've established a business relationship, including anyone you have called, like on their toll-free number.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 11:22AM
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A man loses his job and over the course of five years amasses a ton of debt. He eventually loses his house. As it heads towards foreclosure I buy it as a short sale from his bank. We both have the same first name. He moved out years ago and I get at least 3 phone calls a week (sometimes all in one day) from collection agencies looking for him. The first thing I always ask them is how they got this number, then I explain to them that the "John" they're looking for hasn't lived here for years. They often apologize and say they'll make a note of it in his file, but his debts get passed off to some other agent or agency and the whole thing starts all over again. He owed small amounts of money to lot of businesses. I cannot believe that they will chase it for years. I learned a long time ago that there is nothing to be gained by sounding friendly or helpful when they call - it doesn't stop the calls. I don't think anything will.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 2:02PM
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You have the same first name and live(d) in the same house... AND have the same phone number???

I'd change that number....

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 3:20PM
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"I haven't been back here for a long time obviously but sheesh I can't believe the naivety of some.

If anyone thinks that you can develop hearing loss from listening to a whistle being blown over a phone has absolutely NO idea of telephones. How is it different than screaming at them over the phone? Huh? It isn't? Oh, gee. Is this how we say "duh!"? Un-freaking-believable! LOL"

Really? Well I can't believe how condescending your post is. A high-pitched whistle is going to be much more painful to an ear than someone screaming. How do you know it won't injure someone's hearing? Are you a doctor? At the very least it will make that person think twice about calling again, which is the whole point.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2011 at 2:50PM
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"I talked to DH about getting a different phone number and he reminded me that our telephone company has one of those recordings that comes on and says, "That number has been changed to....", and an unlisted phone number will get in their hands, too, as soon as DS takes out another loan."

Don't bother getting a new number. The phone company is running out of new numbers so the one they give you will probably be connected with a zillion other past owners, including some deadbeats. This happened to us when we got a cable package that included a phone.

Like Chisue said, let your answering machine pick up for you. Everyone we know is aware that we will not pick up unless we know who it is. If we want to talk we pick up. If not, talk to the machine.

If you have to apply for a loan and don't want to give out your home number. Buy a tracfone ($10.00 + $20.00 minutes card) and give them that number instead. That way if they sell your number to marketers, you'll know who it was who sold you out.

You can also program your cell to handly pesky calls without being bothered. Add the offending number to your list of contacts and assign it a silent ringtone/vibrate.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2011 at 12:06AM
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