Debt Collectors Calling
I have about 50K in credit card debt which I stopped paying on about two months ago. My husband lost his job about three months ago and I only make enough to pay our basic living expenses. I am considering filing bankruptcy just in my name since most of the debt is in my name and trying to keep my husbands credit in good standing.
My questions is:
- How long do I have before the credit card companies pursue me legally? I am behind about two months right now.
- Should I talk to them and explain my problems to them or just avoid the calls. I have been avoiding them so far. They call my house twice a day but I have caller ID so I just don’t answer. They are calling my work now several times a day and I am having the people that answer the phone put them in my voice mail but it is starting to draw attention.
From my experience they have to go through several processes first before they take you to court to get a judgment . But talk to them first and tell them not to call your job and to send everything in writing. Now that doesn’t stop the process but it will stop them from calling your job! And if you file bankruptcy then all collections. And calls will cease.
It really depends on the card and the amount owed but as a general guideline around 6 months is when they start to look at legal action. But it really varies, some cards are known for suing sooner than that, some later.
I think I can also send a ‘Drop Dead’ letter via certified mail or any other method where I get proof someone signed for it. A good example is on Clark Howard’s website www.clarkhoward.com, just search drop dead letter.
This will stop all calls – period. If they violate it, they can be sued.
Then they become just a little bit more willing to discuss options. I do not recommend throwing in the towel so soon and so easily for what could be a temporary situation.
I think I can try to negotiate with a payment arrangement or forbearance (for a few months) or refinance my monthly payment.
If only for a $50K or so debt, I don’t think I need to file BK or throw the towel right away.
They may try a few months, then they will assign to a collection agency. If I tell them NOT to call you at work, they could not otherwise they will violate the law.
One time my friend tricked the collectors to leave a message to his co-workers, and the collectors mentioned about they are from a collection agency, then my friend filed a complaint as the collectors violated Federal Fair Debt Collection Acts by disclosing it was a collection.
Also, if the assignment to a collection agency gets no positive result, for another 6 months or so, the credit card company will be forced to charge off the card and sell my debt to an independent business company (collection company) that everyone could buy the debt 10 cents on a dollars (actual ration depends on the credit of the debtors and how likely the new collectors could collect the money.
Remember they need to sell the debt about every 2 years or so to keep the debt “fresh” .
Some collection agency (assignee , NOT charge off yet) would really be aggressive and sue the debtors. I had some friends got sued by MBNA or its assignee.
Even so, I could still easily answer the lawsuit in a page of standard form (downloaded from most court web site) and push the matter to 2 years more (every 3 months, for a case management conference etc)
What do you think?