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Five Myths Debt Collectors Will Tell You

  • By: Christopher Benson
  • Published: September 29, 2014

The first time you speak with a debt collector, they may try different tactics. They may try to befriend you, they may try to intimidate you. They may even lie to you, and that’s because their paycheck depends on one thing and one thing only: collecting money.

Don’t fall for the lies of debt collectors. Know these five myths that collection agencies will tell you.  Also, realize there are ways to stop collection calls and stop garnishments.

  1. They can take your next paycheck. This is called wage garnishment, and it’s not as easy as just snapping up your next paycheck. First, the creditor would have to sue you, and a judge would have to award the creditor the amount sought. Then, the creditor has to issue a Writ of Garnishment. It is TRUE that if the collection agency does all of those things, they CAN garnish 25% of your gross earnings (regardless of your deductions or living expenses). So, although wage garnishment is a real possibility, it doesn’t happen overnight, and it doesn’t happen without you knowing.
  2. They can call you at work. They can—unless you tell them they can’t. If you are getting calls at work from a debt collector, writer them a letter informing them that the calls need to stop, and send it certified mail and request a read receipt. You can use this as proof if the calls continue and you end up needing to report them to the FTC.
  3. They can call your family and tell them that you owe money. A collector may call, but they are not allowed to reveal any private information, such as anything related to your debt. All they can do is give their name and number and request that you call them back.
  4. They can call your home anytime they want. Federal law restricts the hours debt collectors can call you to between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. in your local time zone. Calling any other time is illegal, and you should inform the caller that you are aware that they are breaking the law—after you get their name, agency and job title for reporting purposes.
  5. They can make you go to jail. A threat for not paying a debt is called extortion. This is not Dickens’ England. We do not have debtor’s prisons in the U.S.A. Debt collectors are not allowed to use foul language, issue threats, or tell you that you’re going to jail for not paying a debt. If a collector repeatedly breaks this rule, start recording your conversations with them.

Here is the reality, you can stop collections and you can stop garnishments. You can organize all of your debt and create a plan so that you can live and take care of your creditor claims. Here is also the good news: You can find out your options for free.

When you are ready to take control of your financial situation, give us a call.

Over the past 23 years, the Law Offices of Christopher A. Benson has helped over 2,300 of Washington clients take control of their financial situation. We can stop your collections, your garnishment and change your monthly payments for all your combined unsecured debt, and if you have had more than $600 garnished within the last 90 days, we can get all of the money back in most cases. But you have to act quickly–call (253) 815-6940 for your free consultation, or email us today. Evening and weekend appointments available.

Christopher Benson

About the Author Chris served on the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity
Seattle/S. King County for 10 years and served as Vice President
of the organization during part of that time. Read More