Prepaid Legal Insurance: Your Best Defense Against Bill Collector Harassment

By now it should be of no surprise that some collection agencies are armed with legal representation. I suggest that you be armed and ready as well in order to mount a counter attack should debt collector harassment ever become so overwhelming that it pushes you towards your breaking point.

If debt collectors are a constant annoyance in your life, I highly recommend that you seek out the assistance of a prepaid legal service so you’ll be ready to fight back for little or no cost at all to initiate things like “cease and desist” letters to legally put debt collectors on notice that they are not to contact you other than to inform you of their intent to sue. However, most times, they just cease collection of the debt and sell it to the next collection agency.

There are several types of prepaid legal services available but I personally only know of two. There is ARAG which is the company that I currently subscribe to and then there is the more common known company called Legal Shield. Currently, ARAG® only offers legal and financial solutions through employers, organizations or associations. Legal Shield is open to everyone.

I have used ARAG on no less than 4 occasions including when I was recently sued and I have yet to be charged for 3 cease and desist letters to bill collectors and one defense of a summons I was served for non-payment of an old debt. In the case of the summons, I was given instructions on what form to file with the courts, along with a fully detailed outline of what to include in my answer to the summons. Oh, and did I mention that I won the case?

Legal Shield and others like it, is a nationwide network of attorneys that provide services for people in need of an on-call attorney for a variety of miscellaneous legal issues at a reduced legal network rate. In some cases, they provide 1 hour free services and often times there is no charge.

On one recent occasion I was quoted $450 for legal services from a non-network attorney until I remembered that I belonged to the ARAG prepaid legal plan. I called up ARAG and explained what I needed and I received 1 hour free legal services and the only thing I had to pay out of pocket was a $60 court filing fee! Now that’s some kind of savings!

ARAG charges single members just $9.95 a month for their services and I can happily say that it’s some of the best money I’ve ever spent. If debt collectors are going to be armed with legal representation, it would behoove you to arm yourself as well. I don’t use their services near as much as I should because I rarely let debt collectors get under my skin, but I still feel that I’ve gotten my money’s worth.

Legal Shield’s services start at around $17.00 a month depending on what state you live in. Not near the bargain as ARAG but in my opinion still worth it. You always have the option to shop around for similar prepaid legal plans from other companies where you may be able to find a better bargain.
 
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The Dirty Truth about the National Do Not Call Registry!

The National Do Not Call Registry (NDNCR) was established by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in June 2003. It is enforced by the FTC, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and state law enforcement officials.

The NDNCR was created to stop telemarketers from interrupting family dinners and annoying consumers who did not opt in to communication from telemarketers trying to pitch their products and services. Once you register your home or cell phone number with the NDNCR, telemarketers have 31 days from the day you register to stop calling you.

Now, here’s the rub… It doesn’t work. Although I have no personal experience with the NDNCR, I’ve heard nothing but complaints from numerous consumers over the years about how the NDNCR had failed them miserably. Not only did the calls from telemarketers not stop, they didn’t even slow down. Furthermore, debt collectors do not fall under the NDNCR… not that it would matter if they did!

The idea for this article was prompted by a recent Facebook post from a good friend and former co-worker when he posted about being awaken by a telemarketer despite being on the NDNCR. Now, my friend normally doesn’t complain very much but on this day he was hotter than cayenne peppers and he let all his friends know about it!

In short, if you find yourself being harassed by annoying telemarketers, don’t count on the National Do Not Call Registry to save the day. You’d be better off following the advice from a previous post entitled: Blow the whistle on Debt Collector Harassment!


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Blow the whistle on Debt Collector Harassment!

Debt collectors can be a pain in the ass. We all know that. In my early dealings with debt collectors I’d do like most people and ignore the calls, choosing to let them go straight to voicemail because it was just easier to avoid confrontation. It wasn’t until later that I decided that enough was enough. I would no longer fear answering my own phone.

I decided to face debt collectors head on and if I didn’t answer the phone when they initially called, I’d listen to the message to gauge their tone and then call them back for the details. I learned very quickly that I could use this information to mount my counter attack. The calls would start out civil enough but would inevitably take a turn for the worse the moment I told them the debt didn't belong to me. 

Even if I knew the debt was mine, the answer was always: “I have no idea what you’re talking about.” The reason for denial is because you never want to admit to the debt unless doing so will benefit you in some way. Otherwise, any admission of ownership can reset the clock on the statute of limitation for the debt if it is nearing or already expired.

If during your conversation you find that you’re being bombarded with idle threats and demands for immediate payment, don't fret. Just keep a brass whistle at the ready in order to blast their eardrums each time they speak. The calls will soon stop.

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666: The Mark of the Debt Collector

I don’t know any debt collectors personally, but if you were to shave their heads I wouldn’t be surprised if you found three six’s hidden there. Collection agencies will use any means necessary to harass, bully and intimidate if they think they can shake a penny out of you.

Banished from elitist society, debt collectors are damned to roam the earth and torture debtors throughout all eternity. They have no concept of reasoning because they have no soul. Save your excuses for not paying up, because they will fall upon deaf ears.

If you answer your phone, they’ll terrorize you. There’s no escaping. You can try to hold them off as long as you can but eventually, they’ll start contacting your family and friends. They are relentless in their pursuit…Like modern day terminators. They will not stop until they get their hands on your money.

Only the most experienced debtors have any chance of defeating the beast. There are ways to mount a counter attack but they do not come without risks; however, if you are willing to seek guidance and serve faithfully, you can bring the beast to its knees. You need only call out his name and your savior will appear.


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Good Bill Collector, Bad Bill Collector!

You’ve seen it on prime time police dramas before where one cop comes into the interrogation room and lays into the suspect like a windmill in a tornado in order to shake a confession out of the suspect. When that fails, they send in the other cop who takes an approach of caring and concern for the suspect in order to gain their trust only to coax them into confessing to the crime. Yep. The ol’ good cop, bad cop, routine.

Well, you might be surprised to know that bill collectors use the same technique to loosen the pockets of unsuspecting debtors. First, they have the tough, hard-nosed bill collector speak to you who does everything in his power to break you down and shake you up. When that doesn’t work, they put the nice guy on the phone to calm your nerves and settle you down and hopefully make you feel comfortable enough to pay the debt you owe.

The point I’m trying to make is to stand your ground and don’t let any bill collector talk you into paying a dime unless it benefits you in some way. Remember, you have what they want and therefore hold all the cards. Their idle threats and scare tactics are just that…scare tactics. They get paid on commission and earn bonuses for collecting the most money. There are documented incidents of some collection agencies holding contests between themselves to see who can make a customer cry first!!!

I’ve heard every threat you can imagine but I didn’t budge. When I did decide to pay them it was on my terms and I made sure I got something out of it by having them agree “in writing” to remove the negative reporting from all 3 credit bureau profiles in exchange for me paying off the debt. This technique is called “Pay For Delete” or “PFD”, which I will explain in more detail in a future post. If you can’t wait that long, just send me a message and I will forward you a sample “PFD” letter that I have used in the past to successfully negotiate a payment on my terms, not theirs!

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