How Can Ignoring Collectors Affect Me?
If you’re receiving countless calls from a debt collector, it’s easy to understand why your first instinct may be to ignore them and hold off on dealing with the debt. Although you might want to consider turning your phone on silent or blocking their number, this is often not your best option.
With that in mind, this article is for you if you’re searching for an alternative to ignoring debt collectors and creditors.
Continue reading to learn more about the financial and legal effects of ignoring collection calls and what you can do instead. After you’ve finished this article, contact a debt relief and bankruptcy lawyer at Ziegler Diamond Law to discuss your options.
Can I Ignore Debt Collectors?
Technically, yes. You could ignore debt collection efforts (i.e., phone calls, letters demanding you to pay, negative credit information, etc.) or refuse to respond, but you should keep in mind what happens when you take this type of action.
For starters, ignoring calls doesn’t make aggressive debt collectors stop calling. In many cases, they may even counter your action by filing a lawsuit. Unfortunately, not having enough money in your bank account isn’t enough of an excuse to ignore a call or letter from an original creditor or collection agency attempting to collect outstanding debts.
Learn more about the consequences of ignoring debt collectors in the following sections.
Why is Ignoring Debt Collectors a Bad Idea?
While ignoring debt collector and creditor calls may provide momentary peace, it’s not a good idea in the long run. Your debt will continue to pile up–which will, at minimum, negatively affect your credit score. In worst-case scenarios, you may even face court judgment, including bank account garnishment, garnishment of wages, and more.
Whether you 100% owe the debt or you dispute it and refuse to pay money, there are steps you should consider instead of ignoring letters in the mail and calls from an original creditor or debt collector.
What Happens if You Ignore Debt Collectors?
When people owe money but are not able to pay, they may assume they have nothing to lose if they ignore to act on debt collection efforts. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Whether you owe money for loans, medical debts, credit card bills, etc., there are real financial and legal consequences for ignoring debt collectors.
They may include, but are not limited to, the following:
1. Decreased Credit Score
If you value your credit score, you should know that it will almost certainly decrease when you ignore a debt collector. They can (and most likely will) give your information to the three major credit reporting bureaus (i.e., TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian). Once this happens, it will be more challenging to get loans at a favorable interest rate, apply for credit cards, or even worse.
2. Debt Collection Activity
While initial phone calls and letters in the mail are annoying and difficult to deal with, they are just the beginning of what an original creditor might do to collect assets from you. Potentially more aggressive acts could include, but are not limited to:
- More aggressive calls and mail
- Pass your debt to a debt collection agency
- File a lawsuit against you in an attempt to win a judgment in court
Under the law, Debt collectors are able to and have the right to make phone calls, send letters in the mail, or send emails to ask for the money they are owed (so long as your debt is legal and within the statute of limitations).
However, under laws introduced by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), creditors can’t make harassing phone calls, make calls falsely threatening you with illegal actions, make false or misleading statements, or threaten you with actions they don’t intend to take. We’re here to protect your rights if you’ve been the victim of unlawful debt collection activities.
Contact us to speak with an attorney about holding creditors accountable for debt collection harassment today.
3. Court Judgement
It’s essential to note that if you ignore a debt collection lawsuit or neglect to respond in enough time, a default judgment may be entered against you. That means that your property, assets, wages, or income could be automatically garnished or seized.
However, just because you allegedly owe the debt outlined in a lawsuit doesn’t mean that you will lose in court. Contact us today to speak with a proven attorney about the facts of your case.
Alternatives to Ignoring Debt Collectors
Suppose you are tired of debt collectors calling, mailing, and emailing you. In that case, there are options better than ignoring the calls. Listed below are a few steps you can take instead of neglecting to respond to creditors.
Validate Your Debt
Under the FDCPA, people have the right to ask for debt validation. This requires you to send a written request to debt collectors within 30 days of being contacted about the validity of your debt. If they can’t prove you owe the debts, they must cease all collection activities and have it removed from your credit reports.
Negotiate With Creditors
You don’t have to ignore a debt collector. Instead, you can enter negotiations to decrease the amount owed to debt collectors, set up payment plans, or even get a “pay for delete” guarantee from collectors. However, it’s always a good idea to get any negotiations in writing.
Often, people ignore calls and letters because they know they don’t have anything to give. However, if this is the case, you might want to consider filing for bankruptcy.
In most cases, as soon as you file bankruptcy, your creditors must immediately cease all debt collection activities until the conclusion of your case. Further, keep in mind that if your case is successful, much of your debt will often be discharged.
Contact a Proven Debt Relief And Bankruptcy Lawyer Today
If you want to stop calls and communications from aggressive debt collectors, you should know that bankruptcy is one of the best options. That’s especially true if you don’t have the income or resources to repay large amounts of debt.
However, if you’re unsure if bankruptcy is right for you, contact Ziegler Diamond Law today to speak with a debt relief and bankruptcy lawyer you can trust. If it’s not the best option, there are plenty of other debt relief solutions you may want to consider to protect your finances.