How to Deal with Bill Collectors During a Global Emergency

How to Deal with Bill Collectors During a Global Emergency

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Several months back when Covid-19 forced most businesses to shut down and close their doors, it put many of us out of work for a financially painful amount of time. Without a weekly paycheck to keep up with our bills, millions of Americans fell behind.

Many families are still reaping the consequences of it. But that hasn’t deterred all bill collectors from seeking to collect a debt.  Here is how to deal with bill collectors during a global emergency. 

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How to Deal with Bill Collectors During a Global Emergency

How to Deal With Bill Collectors During a Global Emergency 

If you’re still struggling to get caught back up and the bill collectors are relentlessly hounding you with phone calls, you do have a number of options to deal with them. Even if this isn’t your current situation, you just never know when the next global emergency could happen that would put you in these shoes. Here’s more on how to deal with bill collectors during a global emergency.   

Pick Up the Phone

When people owe money and see a phone number that they don’t recognize, most of them won’t even bother to pick up the phone. After all, they feel that not only will they be talking with an unreasonable and unforgiving bill collector, but it will also remind them of the sum of money that they can’t currently afford to pay back. 

I urge you to at least pick up the phone and try talking with them. For starters, you can confirm whether that debt that they are seeking to collect is in fact yours. If it does turn out to be yours, there’s an opportunity for you to work out a payment plan with them, or maybe even a settlement. 

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Debt collectors have to follow a number of rules when they contact you. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act was put in place to protect people who owed money to these companies. It requires debt collectors to be fair with you and they are also not allowed to harass or threaten to have you arrested. 

Put a Halt to the Phone Calls

Is your phone constantly being lit up by phone numbers that you don’t know? Putting a stop to the bill collector’s phone calls won’t make your debt necessarily disappear, but it will provide relief to your already-drained sanity. There’s also the possibility that they could still sue you, or go on to report your debt to the credit bureau.  

You simply need to write a letter to those companies for them to stop calling and contacting you. Just remember to keep a copy for your own personal records. If they continue calling you with an automatic dialer, chances are, it’s not legal.     

Get Legal Help to Combat Harassing Bill Collectors

You may not be the type of person that likes the thought of suing someone, (neither am I) but if certain bill collectors are continually harassing you, ruining your credit score, wage garnering, or threatening a lawsuit without legal authority, that may be just what you need to do.

If you win your case, that bill collection company will have to pay your attorney fees and whatever other damages the judge decides is appropriate.  

Contact a Nonprofit Credit Counselor

If you’re desperately needing to reduce your rates and get out from underneath all your debt faster, one solution that you can turn to is a nonprofit credit counselor. They can help you with any questions or concerns that you may have, and help you come up with the best options for you to get back on track. 

Debt Settlement Companies

Many people have turned to debt settlement companies to lower the amount of debt that they owe. If this seems like something that you’re interested in, just be careful with the debt settlement company that you choose. Many of them can certainly help you reduce the amount of debt that you currently owe, but some out there will charge you some pretty high fees.

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Debt settling could possibly come back to bite you at tax time since the forgiven debt MAY be considered income. Your tax advisor could give you some guidance. Your credit score could also take a hit while you’re still trying to reach a settlement and not making payments.   

Emergency Protections Were Issued

When the pandemic began and sweept across our nation, our local and state governments put a number of emergency protections in place for its citizens. Evictions, foreclosures, and utility and water shutoffs were not allowed during this time.

When our stimulus package checks arrived a while back, there were certain creditors and bill collectors who sought to seize that money from people who they had already sued when that money had reached their accounts. Many states put a block to this, making it illegal for these companies to do so. 

Even the Department of Education put a halt to collecting federally-owned student loans that were in default. So people were not required to make payments on their federal school loans during that time.  

Most of these protections have been lifted as of September 20th, 2020, but these may prove important to know if a future global emergency were to happen again. 

“Prepare Your Family For Survival” by Linda Loosli

Organize Your Bills Folder

Final Word

Not having the financial means necessary to keep your family pointed in the right direction is already stressful enough. Having to deal with debt collectors on top of that is like pouring salt on a wound. But you don’t have to get angry or call them names just to get your point across.  

Fortunately, these are a number of ways that you can use to deal with them, along with protections set in place by our government for people like you. How have you learned to deal with bill collectors during a global emergency? May God bless this world, Linda

Copyright Images: Bills Calculations Deposit photos_11080442_s-2019

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  1. Linda, once again you’ve written an article full of good advice, in fact I had just written a similar article for my October newsletter. The best advice is to contact any business or person you owe BEFORE they sic debt collectors on you. Be up front with them and you’ll find most are willing to work with you. But if you find yourself in need of credit counseling here are some good places to start–and they’ll work with you for free.

    National Foundation for Credit Counseling
    Financial Counseling Association of America
    Consumer Credit Counseling Service

  2. Linda, I’m adding a link to this article in the Dying Time Newsletter I’m sending out at the end of this month. That article is titled Debt Relief–How to Avoid Hurting Yourself. If you haven’t signed up for my free monthly newsletter I’ll email you a copy once it’s been published.

    1. Hi Ray, I have signed up for your newsletter. If you can get an SSL certificate to make your website secure, I can add yours to mine. I can’t add any websites that have http, only the ones with https (the S at the end means its secure, your host can give you one for free, you should check) Linda

      1. I just submitted an order to iPage for my SSL Certificate. Don’t know how long it takes them to activate it but I’ll let you know as soon as it happens. How do I add your website to mine?

  3. We ran into financial problems due to medical costs about 3 months before the pandemic started and I learned a few things. Most of the bill collectors are simply people trying to earn a paycheck.

    Start the conversation by saying “I want to pay my debts but financially things are rough right now and I don’t know when they will get better.” Once they know you want to pay the debt, they are usually more willing to work with you.

    Have a plan. If you don’t have a budget, now is the time to create one. You have to pay your mortgage/rent, utilities, car payments, gas, medical costs and groceries. Then know how much you have to pay your debts. What I did was pay $5 to each of the creditors and then arranged the debts from smallest to largest. Once the smallest debt was paid off, I took that $5 and added it to the $5 for the next debt, giving me $10 for that one. I continued rolling the payments down.

    With my plan, I could talk to the credit collectors and tell them how much I could pay them. A few said they couldn’t take that much and I said that was all I could do and remained polite and calm. It’s all to easy to cry when you want to pay more and simply cannot.

    I had about 20 credit collectors and all but one worked with me. Some of them had suggestions to help me reduce the bill. I had a few bills from hospitals and he gave me the name of someone that could help. I called and they had an application and when I filled that out, they reduced all their bills by 50%. Even better, that also reduced the cost of any new medical costs within their hospital system.

    I had one guy who was impossibly rude. I had never seen the bill he was trying to collect and it seems they were sending the bills to my old address, 4 years after we had moved. I told him I could add him to my list and start sending him $5. He said that was unacceptable and wanted me to pay the full $90 immediately. I told him I didn’t have it. He suggested we sell our house and use the equity to pay him. I laughed and said that wasn’t going to happen. He also suggested that if my husband didn’t make enough money to take care of me that I should divorce him and marry someone who could support me. I told him I’d take that under consideration. (I kept my house and my husband and the credit collector only got $5 per month and never called me again.)

    The good news is that we have paid off all our debt.

    1. Hi Topaz, oh my gosh, thank you for sharing your story. It’s wonderful to show people there’s light at the end of the tunnel. I applaud you for handling your affairs in a professional and calm way. You were willing to pay but things were tight. Some listened it sounds like. The guy telling you to sell your home, divorce your husband, and marry someone else, there are no words. For a $90.00 bill, wow, wow, wow. What he or she thinking?? Good grief! LOL! Like you said you survived and paid off all your debt. Way to go! Linda

  4. I am so blessed to not have this problem. Just idiots taking my payment for propane and not putting me on the delivery list. How hard can this be?
    Oh, the last time I’m sure the girl stole the $750. But this time I used credit card to be sure that didn’t happen and she still failed her customer. I am using this half tank and moving to new company.
    Lesson learned but what are the odds that this would happen twice to me??

    Years ago, I broke my toes and it was just 3 months before I qualified for Medicare. Yes, that is how my life rolls!!
    I paid $10 a month to the hospital and emergency doc and the x-ray company and eventually did pay the bills.
    BUT, a lady called one day from the physician’s org. and asked if I could send $100 and clear the debt…oh, yeah I did.
    Was emailed the pay off and balance 0.
    Doesn’t happen often but my pmt. was costing more in labor than it was worth.

    1. Hi JayJay, wow, that’s terrible!! Hopefully, with the credit card, you had some recourse. You broke your toes, OUCH! Oh my gosh! I hope it wasn’t the same year you got ripped off on the propane! Sometimes I wonder if companies even communicate with each other. Like the left hand not talking to the right hand. Some days……Linda

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