Have you ever been hassled or threatened by bill-collectors?

United States
July 19, 2007 11:04am CST
I have had this bill collector aalling me non-stop just to threaten me. She says, if I don't pay off my $5000 in doctor bills, they will take me to court and garnish my husbands wages, even though that is what we are living off of. I have offered to pay monthly payments, but she will not accept that. She wants me to go out and get a loan to pay it off all at once. The problem with that is that I am unable to get a loan, due to my bad credit. I don't understand why they won't accept my monthly payments? If they want their money so damn bad, why can't they accept? Have you ever been hassled or threatened by bill collectors? Are they even allowed to threaten you? Tell me your experiences with this.
7 people like this
15 responses
@kareng (7986)
• United States
19 Jul 07
You need to make monthly payments and start doing it now. It shows you are trying to pay off your debt. If it does go to court, you have evidence that you are trying to pay this off. They should be willing to take payments. You should call the doctor's office or hospital directly and talk to their accounting department, although it may be too late if they have turned it over to a bill collector.
• United States
20 Jul 07
Hi Jennifer, Just a quick tip here...check your states statute of limitations very carefully. In some states ...most really a bill collector only has a certain amount of time to collect a debt. That's why they get pushy and rude. Once they surpass that time limit they cannot get anything from you at all. I do not know how old your debts are but that could be something to check out. I believe it gets counted from the last payment date. Be careful as some companies have been known to make a payment to themselves to make it look like it came from you and restart the clock. Really check out the laws for your state. Just remember not paying will put a bad mark on your credit. As far as being sued ...yes they will take you to court if it is worth the expense. What they hope is the party being sued will not even show up and they will win by default. They are a nasty lot those bill collectors. Whatever you do keep really good records of all the times they call during the day/week/month. Keep copies of any written documents from them. If you have letters from them refusing a payment plan that all works in your favor. Good Luck to you!
• United States
20 Jul 07
I've had them harass me in the past and it was aweful. The Law can vary by area so I would check and see what your rights are. Maybe talk to the Attorney General to see how far they're allowed to go and what you can do about it. Where I'm at they can call once a day between certain hours. They're not supposed to make hasty threats. I agree about just sending them a payment in good faith. If they cash it, then I think that would be beneficial to you. If not, you have that proof just in case they do take you to court. Personally, I hate some of the collectors because they act like the money came out of their pocket. Even if we DO owe the money, they should have to act in a professional manner.
@jimbomuso (950)
20 Jul 07
That sounds like a tough situation. I dont know how debt collection works in the U.S. but a debt collector encouraging you to get in to more debt with a different company sounds 'improper'. Do not allow yourself to be pushed around. I'd definately get in touch with a debt management/support and get as much proffesional advice. In the U.K. we've got the citizens advice bureau, and debt collection firms cannot intimedete or threaten physical or emotional harm.In the meantime set aside the monthly payments to pay the bill that way when an arrangment is reached you can pay a bit immediatley.My own personal experiances are of Landlords threatening to send 'his family round' etc even though my property was leased through an agent! once I'd been threatened with violence I contacted the police, then the letting agent and nullified the contract and saved myself £500! hope your situation improves.
1 person likes this
@meljessxena (2319)
• Australia
20 Jul 07
luckily, i havent been, but my partner has once, because someone"he knows who" used his house phone while at work and ra cked a bill up but we couldnt get money out of them for the bill and cant prove the did it either and we arent on enough money for their monthly repayments they wanted so we fell behind, and they came after him, but luckily i told the right person and they helped him out big time.
1 person likes this
@lingli_78 (12852)
• Australia
20 Jul 07
thank God i never experienced this before... so i don't really know how the law works... but i think they are very heartless to sue you to court ot garnish your husband's wages... i understand how it feels to live on a tight budget... keep on praying to God and aks for His help... take care and hang on there... God Bless you...
1 person likes this
@IndyGirl (24)
• United States
20 Jul 07
I was told that if you send them any amount of money on a monthly basis they can not call you. They definitly can not threaten you. I have them calling me as well. I tell them I can pay this amount and send it to them. As long as I send them something they are off my back. If you tell them not to call and they do, then they are breaking the law. They can not harrass you.
@sukumar794 (5047)
• Thiruvananthapuram, India
19 Jul 07
So far I faced threatening by debtors through intermittent phone calls to which I have paid obliging answers. The tone in those calls often vary to impoliteness. Yet i manage ,never losing my patience . It's bad credit ...it builds up tension galore.
1 person likes this
• United States
19 Jul 07
Even worse, I used to be a bill collector! It's a horrible horrible job, you can't do it for long because you get all burnt out on humanity. On the one hand you start to think everyone is lying to you, and on the other you have no self esteem because your job is convince that unemployed single mother that it's more important to pay her Sears card than feed her children. Anyway... The rules of engagement differ from state to state, but there are rules. They are not allowed to be abusive and there are limits to how much they can contact you. They like to play the garnishment card, but it's not that easy unless you money to a government agency (some hospitals are, so be careful). They also like to say they'll take you to court, but if they do, chances are they'll be forced to take they arrangement you're already proposing, so they don't really want it to go that far. Finally, understand that the bill collector probably gets his bonus or commision based on what he collects, so it's in his best interest to get big bucks from you -make him understand that a small amount is all that's possible, and he can choose between that or nothing -chances are he'll take what he can get. Of course none of this addresses concequences to your credit rating, just a little info to give you an edge w/the collector.
@sid556 (31019)
• United States
19 Jul 07
Yes I have. Do not get a loan and do not borrow the money. Send them what you can each month. Don't get worked up arguing with them over the phone. If they get rude or threatning, hang up. If they take you to court the judge will consider your income and expenses and order you to pay a certain amount each month. That could be to your benefit. When that happened to me, I ended up only being required to pay 10.00 per month. Also most hospitals have a program designed to help those who can't afford their medical costs. Ask them about that as they usually don't offer up the info.
1 person likes this
@coolseeds (3925)
• United States
19 Jul 07
I don't know if you have been making payments but you should ALWAYS send something every month. It doesn't matter if it is $5. ALWAYS send something. It shows that you made some type of effort. Some guy who works where my girlfriend told me this about his over due bills. He said that if they will not accept a monthly payment. Such as we will not accept a $10 payment. Then you do not have to pay it. It might be just a state law. I don't know because I pay my bills. This guy is pretty low. So he knows about scamming the system. He has 10 kids which enables him to get welfare and food stamps. His wife gets a disability check because she has headaches. Just between MyLot and myself she doesn't have headaches. But if you go to the doctor about a problem long enough they will eventually give you what you want. It is people like this that makes it so hard for the rest of us.
1 person likes this
@pjanaway (247)
21 Jul 07
I used £5 on my credit card a while back, and i didn't pay it off for over a month, so the bank kept ringing me 3 times a day until I paid it off.. lol, they probably blew the £5 just phoning me all the time.
@sunkissed (4332)
• United States
20 Jul 07
Yes,I do hate bill collectors also. I too have alot of doctor bills, these people have no consionce, they call all hours of the day & night, even on Sundays. They do want money that you do not have, and have no way of getting.They will threaten you with everything in the book.And some of them will indeed take you to court.The thing is if you try to pay them something every month, they will accept it, no matter if it is just $5 or $10 dollaras a month.Start paying somthing each month, this way, they can not say you were not trying to pay what you could, this may stop them from taking you to court, but if it does not, at least the court will see you were trying to pay on the bill.
@balabrahmam (1074)
• India
20 Jul 07
yes i am earninning hundred of dollers but i did not use it for my self
@gardengrrl (1445)
• United States
19 Jul 07
They are not allowed by law to abuse, harrass, or threaten you. Inform them that you will be recording the conversation, and if you have a minirecorder, do it. Ask for the individual's name, job title and supervisor's name and phone number. File a complaint with the highest-titled person you can find at that location. Get the home office information from that person, and complain to them. You should also contact your local community assistance law group, and get informed about your rights, and their obligations. Those are all the legal things you can do. What I would do? Get my soccer time-keeper's airhorn out of my closet, hold the bell about 1 inch from my phone's mouthpiece, and let 'er rip, three full seconds, the very next time this ignorant bi*ch called. To protect myself legally, I would have to provide a warning. I would satisfy this requirement by saying something like, "If you don't stop harrassing me right now, I am going to get VERY loud with you!" In any event, DO something. You don't have to take this. When things get bad in our lives, it is a very natural response to curl up in a ball and let things go as they will. We don't assert our rights because we feel like we deserve to be dumped on for not keeping up with our bills. Try not to succumb to this, sooner or later you will wind up having to clean up the mess. Hang in there, and good luck!