Bottom line: Las Vegas debt collectors want to get paid. They aren’t known for their politeness, and people who don’t have money to pay their debts don’t like talking to creditors demanding it. Debt collectors will use as many methods at their disposal as they can to contact debtors to get their money. Often these practices are considered harassment; in many cases, they are illegal but the punishments are insufficient to deter it.
One common tactic is calling debtors at home. If this happens to you, be sure to take notes. Here’s why:
- The more detailed your notes, the more credible you will be if the debt collector sues you. Your notes are admissible to refresh your recollection of the phone calls if you testify in court.
- Debt collectors take notes too, and they frequently change debtors’ words, call them and tell them they said things they didn’t, such as when they would pay. Debt collectors may offer options in one phone conversation only to deny offering it in subsequent conversations to confuse debtors.
- Your notes will help your lawyer prepare a case against the debt collector if it breaks the law, like the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Notes themselves allow attorneys to draft a complaint that can specify exactly what debt collectors said and why their clients deserve relief.
- Of particular importance are dates and times of when the debt collector called, the name of the debt collection company, the identity of the person calling, and what that person said.
- Recording calls is risky. Sometimes the technology doesn’t work, creating a garbled conversation, other times it may be illegal if the consent of the other party is required, and the contents of recorded conversations must be transcribed for easy reference in subsequent phone conversations and discussions with one’s attorney. The debt collector might try to talk fast, but you don’t have to speak until you’re done writing and you can ask the person on the other end to slow down and repeat himself or herself. If privacy is available, you may wish to switch to speakerphone to free your hands.
Debt collectors can be obnoxious and worse, often resort to illegal practices. If you believe a debt collector broke the law, contact an experienced Las Vegas bankruptcy attorney for a case evaluation.
For more questions about bankruptcy in Las Vegas, please feel free to contact an experienced Haines & Krieger Las Vegas bankruptcy attorney for a free initial consultation.