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Credit Card Companies Auto Calls - I Answer, when?


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Toward the end of this month I'll reach my first 30 day late period. The companies have been sending those automated calls asking me to contact them and I let them go to voicemail. There was only one company that had a real person leaving a voicemail message.

I plan to file Chapter 7 around the first of Nov or Dec since I need to get the last six months income down lower.

What do I do with these phone calls? Do I answer, respond or just ignore?

I heard on talk radio to not ever tell anyone that you're going to pay anything on a certain date because if you can't, then they'll hold you accountable and the calls can be recorded. I don't plan to pay anything so I'm wondering if I can ignore the calls. I know they have the 30, 60, and 90 day late period routine and I'm sure they're backed up with all the filings going on right now.

What do I do? What do I say if I answered the phone or call them back?


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The companies have been sending those automated calls asking me to contact them and I let them go to voicemail.

i assume they are calling on your cell phone.

maybe the best route is to use the TCPA. im not an expert, but it seems like this a new approach by suing them for $500 per call.

i thnk you might need to send a "dont call me anymore" letter CMRR to establish that they no longer have permission to call your cell.

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You're right about what you're saying. I did read an article about that yesterday and I'll try to search again for it and post it. It was informative.

It's legal for them to call me because I gave them my phone number on the phone/online contact.

I'm sure if they don't receive a response from me soon, they'll be putting a hold on the cards since they don't know why I'm not responding. I think one already said that in an email that I opened. Even the email, I don't really want to open any because, do you think, that they might have the technical function available to them to know if the recipient has opened it. Probably not? (They don't know for example, if I'm been in an accident or other reason why I've not responded.)

I'd like to hear what others have done in this situation when credit card companies have begun to call them after being a week, two weeks and more late on paying the payment.

Edited by frankson
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I would avoid doing C&D letters if you plan on going the ch 7 BK route anyways. That will just create more headaches for you because the creditors may then immediately try to sue you. You do not have to answer the phone and hence you do not have to talk to them.

There is a feature on email that allows them to know if someone has read it (They really cannot prove it was the person the email was intended for who has read it). Your email application however should tell you when the email is intending to report back that it was read.

Finally, You talk about putting a hold on the card. All banks do that once a payment is late. After all, if the account is heading to charge off status, they want to limit their risk exposure. Please tell me however that you have (or intend) to stop using the cards once you decided to go the BK route. If you did not stop after the BK decision, that is considered theft in my eyes because you are taking money that you knowingly did not intend to pay back.

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I hadn't hardly used the cards at all in the past year or so. Even in July when I had a balance of $2,500 on it, when I received more work again, I immediately paid back $2,000 within one month. All my new, recent charges earlier this year show intent to pay by what I'd paid back. The last time I'd used another card was in early September for a necessity but I didn't get work again to repay that amount as I'd expected.

I didn't use with intent to not pay and haven't used a couple since early September but the timing of the charges don't look any more out of the ordinary because they pretty much resemble a past pattern of newer, recent amts (on top of previous balance) being repaid quickly.

Last year when I wasn't using the cards, I went to work out-of-state as usual, and had to make a $750 charge and that newer charge was repaid within a couple months. Then there wasn't any 'new activity' on any of them until around July of this year. A couple of small charges, $30 and $375 on one card were repaid before the cycle changed and so that card is totally clear.

I've read online, what's acceptable or not, to have charged in the past 70 days or so. There were other times I've charged when I was out-of-work and could've contemplated BK then but didn't. The pattern of usage is basically the same except this time I've stopped using them completely since the economy is so bad and have decided to file BK. Actually because I'm in and out of work during each year, it's not predicatable at any time of those charges that I didn't intend to pay. The only difference now is that there's really no work and they know the economy is affecting so many people right now.

What I meant to say was I knew that they could view the last time you visited and logged in to their online website. I suppose they might know if an email has been opened but as far as I know, Hotmail, AOL, Yahoo doesn't have that feature for us to know if our email has been read or not. (You're definitely right though, they can't determine exactly who opened up an email.) Are there some email applications that can report to you when the email has been opened by the recipient? If so, which ones? Interesting.

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To answer the primary question: You are under no obligation whatsoever to talk to any person at the credit card company or to call them back; regardless of if your account is in good standing or not.

Unfortunately, they also are under no obligation to stop trying to call you until you file bankruptcy and the automatic stay kicks in.

The TCPA has an exception for "established business relationship" to land lines which allows them to use robocalling. These days it is a bit fuzzy on if they can robocall a wireless phone. The TCPA expressly forbids it if the mobile subscriber incurs a call charge. Back in the days when the TCPA was written mobile phones were charged by the minute for all incoming and outgoing calls. The debate surrounds whether pre-paid minutes count as being "charged for the call." Also when the TCPA was written everyone had a land line even if they had a mobile phone. The idea of cutting the landline and going mobile-only wasn't even considered when the law was created. Nowadays businesses (creditors/collectors) may have no other means of contact with a transient debtor that moves a lot and only keeps a mobile phone. So judges likely will be far more lenient in such cases...especially if it is apparent the consumer is using the TCPA as a shield to dodge a debt.

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"On Jan. 4, 2008, the FCC issued a ruling in response to a written request by ACA, clarifying creditors and collectors may contact consumers' wireless numbers using autodialers and prerecorded messages if the number was provided by the consumer in connection with an existing debt.

The ruling came after ACA submitted a petition to the FCC in 2005 requesting the FCC explain the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA) prohibition against autodialed or prerecorded message calls to wireless numbers does not apply to creditors and debt collectors when the purpose of the call is to collect a debt. The new ruling clarified that creditors, debt collectors and asset buyers are not prohibited from manually dialing a consumer's wireless number in connection with a debt and that they are permitted to make autodialed and prerecorded message calls to a consumer's wireless number if the consumer provides prior express consent to that calling party."

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permitted to make autodialed and prerecorded message calls to a consumer's wireless number if the consumer provides prior express consent to that calling party."

And I am willing to bet the express consent is buried in the application. However, this would affect only those applications submitted after the ruling since applicants would have had an expectation of not being contacted via mobile prior.

Also the source of this announcement, ACAInternational, is somewhat suspect and I would have to do some more research to validate their statement. ACAInternational has had some rather warped views of rulings in the past that Judges have later said no-no-no to.

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This is from the FCC and the Federal Register:


"Although the TCPA generally

prohibits autodialed calls to wireless

phones, it also provides an exception for

autodialed and prerecorded message

calls for emergency purposes or made

with the prior express consent of the

called party. Because the Commission

finds that autodialed and prerecorded

message calls to wireless numbers

provided by the called party in

connection with an existing debt are

made with the ‘‘prior express consent’’

of the called party, the Commission

clarifies that such calls are permissible.

The Commission concludes that the

provision of a cell phone number to a

creditor, e.g., as part of a credit

application, reasonably evidences prior

express consent by the cell phone

subscriber to be contacted at that

number regarding the debt."

"The Commission emphasizes that

prior express consent is deemed to be

granted only if the wireless number was

provided by the consumer to the

creditor, and that such number was

provided during the transaction that

resulted in the debt owed. To ensure

that creditors and debt collectors call

only those consumers who have

consented to receive autodialed and

prerecorded message calls, the

Commission concludes that the creditor

should be responsible for demonstrating

that the consumer provided prior

express consent."

I also thought this part was interesting:

"The Commission notes, however, that

where the subscriber has not made the

number available to the creditor

regarding the debt, we expect debt

collectors to be able to utilize the same

methods and resources that

telemarketers have found adequate to

determine which numbers are assigned

to wireless carriers, and to comply with

the TCPA’s prohibition on telephone

calls using an autodialer or an artificial

or prerecorded voice message to

wireless numbers."

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Thanks for your responses.

On my secondary phone is where most of the calls come from since that is the number I'd changed my contact number the acct(s) online before I missed the payments. I'm not worried, have no reason to be, that I changed the cell phone number and my address. (My previous mailing service closed a few months ago and I'd had mail sent to home address, the office lobby is an open area and unsecure until they will receive the official USPS boxes, so I changed the address to another mail service.) I'm not worried about this and am quite sure they'll not question this but I have answers for that anyway.

The objective was, since I've heard calls will continually come, to have them go to a phone I wasn't normally using. Secondary was only for when the primary cell didn't get a signal. I don't know if I can use a different ringtone for these numbers that have appeared on the missed call list. (The only bad thing about not answering is that I have to depend on voice mail if it's a call from a work contact or the like since I don't answer any calls on that phone that I don't recognize.) There are a couple calls coming to my primary cell but I don't know if I might've missed changing a couple of the acct contact numbers but I don't think I missed any. (I think they might still keep record of the primary number somewhere in their system.)

Still yet, I've not answered the phone but one time. A few weeks ago I just kept replying that I couldn't hear the caller and hung up. They're automated and there'd only been a couple of real callers leaving a voice mail of which I didn't return.

** My first payment(s) were missed around the 21st of Sept and so that put's me at October 21st of being 30 days late, right? That's how it goes?

Maybe this should go to another forum, but if I don't contact them, it's the credit bureau after 30 days, then what is it after 60 and 90 days that they do?

I'd been told in a couple of consulatations that they're backlogged and it could be much later than 90 days before I'd receive a court notice or whatever (I'm now just learning all this.)

I'd heard elsewhere that a person told them some exuses to keep them from doing anything drastic right away. Can that be true?

I also heard that I can contact them and give them an exuse and say that I hope to find work and hope to pay but to 'not' committ to an amt or date, keyword, don't committ or they can somehow hold you to it but that might be other than a credit card company that were referring to about not verbally committing.

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Also, I don't think that I want to talk with them anyway. They record and could use something I say (intended or not intended to say) to play the recording in court is what I hear.

But I thought I could say that I'd been looking for work and as soon as I find work I'd hope to pay...but what would they say to that?

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If you plan on declaring BK and are not using the lines of credit at the point you seriously considered BK, then why bother talking to your creditors. They want money and not excuses and since you do not plan on sending them money, it will only be an exercise in frustration for both parties.

Also, it is dependent on the creditor as to when they will sue you. Most will not sue you in the first 90 days as that is the time when you might most likely catch up. Some small town suppliers may sue between 90 and 180 days but even then, that is most unlikely.

At 180 days is when most banks charge-off accounts that are past due. This is most likely the point where banks that keep their collections in-house (small local banks) and most suppliers and small local companies will sue you. The large banks will try to let a collections agency either handle the account or will sell the account to a collections agency before they sue you.

For large banks, the point of lawsuit is 1 - 2 years after delinquency.

So if you plan on waiting 3 - 4 months before filing BK, I suggest putting together the money to cover the required credit counseling first. Most of them however will see that you have little income and hence, have no way to set up a payment plan. At that point, the will recommend BK because either you fit into one of their plans or you are BK.

After that, save up money for lawyer fees and the financial class you have to take to get the discharge.

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Actually, one consultation said that I could file Nov and another said the same even saying that Dec 1st would be okay...but that was roughly with the figures I gave them and they did say that I'd be falling into Chapter 7. (Just trying to push the prior months back a tad.)

I don't know about the credit counseling you're talking about. I haven't looked up the prices for that and seems like you're saying that the creditors would 'see' that I've taken the course (how long those take, I don't know), ... what's the main point of going through that class? Is it just show that it looks better to the creditors to see 'early on or at the point of 341' that I was advised to go the BK route. Is that worth the cost of the class?

If it's looking promising that I can file, then I want to go ahead and do the Chapter 7. I've just filtered my thoughts to consider hiring an atty to now considering using a Court Document Service. I'd rather use the money to pay them, $474 (excluding my $25 X 2 for the online cert). I am going to go to the library to print out the forms (faster printing than at home) for Chapter 7 just so that I can see what it entails. I think that I'd rather pay them so that I know that I did complete these adequately, and most importantly, save me the stress of the means test, etc. that I've been reading a lot of comments about and learning that I think it could stressful and time-consuming and better for me to use the Court Document Service. They're not attorneys but I think with a good rapor with them, they'll keep one from messing up vs doing this myself and messing up.

@WhoCares1000, like you said, it can be around 90 days or so.

Below is a quote from a thread in the Collections Forum titled Crap One Collection letter only 90 days past due, authored by GeorgiaAutoGuy:

It appears here that he's received a letter @ 90 day period.

Has anybody else reading this received anything at 90 day+, ? Now I feel a little scared! (lol)

I received a letter from NCO Financial Systems on behalf of Capital One yesterday for a CC account that I have had for years that is currently about 90 days past due. The balance is $7500.

I have 30 days to send the validation letter. But, it seems like that has become a joke - although I realize that I have to send it in order to not receive a default judgement.[End Quote]

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Pretty much two days after my first late credit card bill EVER, I started getting collections calls... nonstop and at odd hours (Bank of America's been calling at 11 at night), so I came up with a novel solution.

It requires:

a) a home phone that has a "call forwarding" feature.

B) a Google Voice account (free!)

c) potentially a cell phone if you want to be able to answer normal calls that come in

Set up the home phone to forward to your Google Voice number. Setup Google Voice so that all unknown callers (this isn't just "Unknown" or "Blocked" numbers -- anybody that's not in your address book with Google will be required to ID) are required to identify themselves. Optionally, set up Google Voice to forward calls to your cell phone.

When callers don't identify themselves, as many creditors refuse to do, the phone won't even ring. If they do ID themselves, your cell phone will ring and you'll be given the option to "answer," "send to voicemail & listen in," or my personal favorite, "answer and record."

It has completely stopped the collections calls for me! END QUOTE

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