How to Handle Creditor Calls

Once you miss even one payment on a credit card or have a medical bill sent to collections, you'll start hearing from creditors.  They will call you, leave messages, and send you letters and notices. It can be stressful, embarrassing, and annoying to deal with them.  How can you make the best of the situation? Know your rights and don't be shy about acting on them.

First, tell creditors  if your employer will not let you take calls from them at work.  Send the creditor a letter telling them this, and tell them over the phone. Keep a copy of anything you send them.

Second, realize that you are not required to take these calls. There is no law that says you have to pick up the phone, talk to a creditor, or return their call.

Third, keep notes about any time you do talk to a creditor.  Open all the letters you get from the creditor; don't ignore them.  If a creditor is being abusive or threatening, is calling you at strange times or refusing to stop calling you at work, take notes every time this happens. You might have a claim against them for violating the law.

Finally, make a plan so that creditor calls don't haunt you forever. Is bankruptcy an option? Talk to an attorney to find out.  Does it make sense to try and settle this debt? Is there a legitimate dispute about whether you owe this money? Is a debt consolidation plan the right option for you?  Should you just ignore creditors because you are judgment proof?  If you don't know what plan to choose, talk with a lawyer to help you decide.