Afraid to Pick Up the Phone? Here’s How to Deal with Debt Collectors

PHOENIX–(BUSINESS WIRE)–As Americans grapple with decades of high inflation and other economic uncertainties, millions have borrowed to make ends meet. Add to that the seemingly endless calls from aggressive collection agencies, adding to the stress of many.

“No one should be afraid to pick up the phone or be a victim of bullying or threats. But relief is a lot closer than many people might think,” said Amy Maliga, financial educator at Take Charge America, a nonprofit credit counseling and debt management agency. “When you understand how debt collection works, you can use that knowledge to have peace of mind as you work to get out of debt.”

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) protects individuals from harassment by collection agencies and regulates how collection agencies can interact with people. To help individuals take back control of collection calls, Maliga shares five key actions to take:

  • Check their facts. Request written confirmation of the debt amount and additional details, including the name of the original creditor and instructions on how to contest the debt if you question its validity. By law, collection agencies are required to provide this information within five days of your request. Never give out confidential financial information over the phone.
  • Keep detailed records. Track every letter, email and call you make with collection agencies. These come in handy when you need to file a complaint or prove you paid the debt if another agency tries to collect it in the future.
  • Take control of communication. You have the right to direct how collection agencies communicate with you. You can make the request by email or letter. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) offers letter templates to facilitate written communication with collection agencies.
  • Submit a Complaint. If a collection agency remains aggressive or openly violates the FDCPA, you can file a complaint online with the CFPB or by calling 855-411-2372. You will receive email updates and can check the status of your complaint on the CFPB website.
  • Find out about credit counseling. If you’re overwhelmed by collection calls, you may find relief with nonprofit credit counseling. After going through a free credit counseling session online or over the phone, you will be given a free action plan with tailored solutions, possibly including a debt management plan.

About Take Charge America, Inc.

Founded in 1987, Take Charge America, Inc. is a nonprofit agency that provides financial education and advisory services, including credit counseling, debt management, student loan counseling, housing counseling, and bankruptcy counseling. It has helped more than 2 million consumers nationwide to manage their personal finances and debt. To learn more, visit or call (888) 822-9193.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *