This article ought be applied only to those situations where one does not-actually owe the claimed debt. Verizon creative-billing has generated a few irritating collections encounters.
Debt collectors MUST
* show true callerid information
* honestly identify themselves when called party inquires
* cease calling you/writing you after you instruct them they may only communicate with your attorney (lawyer). you must provide contact information
* “provide the nature of their business” when you inquire by phone.
** you are not required to identify yourself to obtain this information from them
Debt collectors may NOT
* impersonate another when contacting either you, or someone they believe might know how to contact you
* use callerid_number that you cannot call to reach them
* use callerid_name that obscures their identity
When calling a debt collector it is PRUDENT to:
* RECORD the conversation
while it might be illegal in your state to record the call without consent, do so anyway. the conversation might then be “inadmissable” as evidence in court. “oh noes”.
Notify them at the start of the call that you are recording them (if they object courteously inform them you do not care and these are your terms to communicate with them about the alleged debt, or inform them that requires manager approval)
My voip provider allows me to record outgoing calls by first dialing a code: code + number. My provider also has a feature to record all/some incoming calls.
* keep copious written notes
insist on the full name, employee number, and phone number of whomever. if they refuse inform them these are your terms and terminate the call. Without accountability you will suffer phone run around.
* provide them as LITTLE information as possible
Remember any customer service call where the agent simply repeated one or more phrases? You, too, can control the conversation by providing no new information no matter how many ways the question is phrased to you.
they called you. they likely provided an account number or reference number. you mission is to collect information about the reference number NOT to provide them information. provide nothing, request everything.
colxn: “This call is for Miss Smith regarding reference XTR-14m3. please call 800-142-8686”
call them back via SIP free tollfree termination
you: “I received a call from this numbah. What is the nature of your business, and what is your physical location.”
provide nothing until these two are ascertained. optionally make allusion to having a reference number for compliance motivation.
you: “I am calling in regards to reference XTR-l4m3. Explain your claim”
provide nothing other than: the reference number, the time you were called, and a verbatim quote from the message. repeat your inquiry. Pretend you are a mouth breather in verizon customer service. do NOT vary your responses: repeat yourself often.
* retain an attorney (lawyer)
direct debt collector to attorney. they MAY NOT contact you directly from this point forward. they MUST only communicate with your attorney.
* contact EVERYONE you have ever listed as an “emergency contact” on any form — especially medical (new doctor/patient)
advise/remind them NOT to volunteer information about you in writing- or over the phone. this should be super-obvious already, but “social” networking sites seem to sap IQs.
* DISCONTINUE providing “alternate contacts” or “emergency” information on forms. It is ONLY used for debt collection
If the bunker nazi (front office clerk) at a medical facility “requires” the form be “completed”
** draw a line through the boxes, or
** put your own IDENTICAL information in the boxes, or
** fabricate a person: Uncle John Smith, 202-167-8080 (fourth digit always “1” makes the number invalid). 419eater.com rules apply. do not suck the innocent into the fabrication.
* buy yourself a forwarding number to use on medical forms, new account forms, or anywhere you would enter your home/mobile/office number.
If you start receiving irritating calls buy another forwarding number, cancel the prior number, and only inform those people with whom YOU WANT to communicate the new number… ideally next time YOU interact with those people in person.
* withhold your callerid
not possible with mere star-code prefix dialing. toll free DID have ANI magic. be wary of their non-tollfree DID, too
I use SIP “free tollfree termination”
* if not outright ditching their calls consider routing them through a hellish IVR… IVR tarpitting
both voxeo and plum have excellent, free tools for VISUALLY designing an IVR. disable DTMF (touch tone) options, requiring ASR (speech recognition). “accidentally” misspell the keywords for ASR
* out them on a new-blog
especially beneficial for “debts” you do not owe.
* post the phone call recordings
be sure to edit out YOUR personal (financial) information
additional bookmarkified resources
step 8, step 9, step 10