Answering Calls From Unknown Numbers

Whenever I think about whether I should answer a call from an unknown number that I know is most likely a bill collector, I just let it ring straight to voicemail! The reason I don’t answer is because I know that if I do, I will just end up being upset and there is really no good reason to put myself through that kind of stress.

I know that plenty people feel that this is bad advice and that you only make matters worse by not answering and dealing with the issue head on. Well, those people are idiots! Now, let me explain. I have no problem with people wanting to pay their bills, because you should. Just do it on your own terms.

If you know you don’t have enough money to pay the debt off in full or at least enough money to negotiate a reasonable pay for delete offer, it makes no sense to answer the phone and get verbally abused by some "jackass" on the other end of the line who probably owes more people than you do!

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Over the years, people have asked me how I came up with the idea for “Bill Collectors Hate Me”. The idea sprouted from numerous conversations with friends and family members about how I’d find myself in a bind and then somehow manipulate my finances in such a way that I could seemingly generate money out of nowhere.  Here’s a few examples:

I found a loophole that allowed me to access money from my 401K every few months in order to pay my $1200 rent or $600 car payment whenever I was running low on cash, which I never had to pay back. I learned how to get a full tank of gas for $1 so that I could commute back and forth to work. I’ve survived on $50 for two full weeks until my next payday more times than I can count on one hand.

When a bill collector sent me a summons in the mail, I didn’t panic. I did a little research, made a couple phone calls and prepared my answer to the summons. A few days later I was at the courthouse filing my paperwork, paid a filing fee and less than 30 days later, my case was dismissed. Some have said that I work more angles than a politician…I simply call it maximizing my resources.

I’ve have several walk on water experiences. So many, in fact, that some people have accused me of having a “God Complex”. Maybe those people are right. Or maybe I just think they are and I’m simply living out the fantasy of trying to be who they think I am. But I digress.

Because I was becoming more and more known for maneuvering in and out of financial situations with ease, friends suggested I write a book or create a website to share my story with others who could use my assistance. Some suggested that I become an accountant. I decided a blog was my best option.

Blogging would give me a platform in which I could share my years of experience in credit and finance as well as the dark world of collections. I realized that through a blog I’d be able to teach people how to combat renegade debt collectors who think they are above the law. “Bill Collectors Hate Me” was born. 

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Capitol One Gave Me A Second Chance!

In a previous post entitled: Beware of Second Chance Offers from Capitol One, I warned people about accepting a credit card offer from Capitol One if you’ve ever defaulted on another credit card with them. The reason is because Capitol One is quick to extend you credit only to add your previous past due balance to your new account.

Having previously defaulted on a Capitol One account myself, back in 2009, I was very leery about accepting any new credit card offers from them for fear that they would add the old debt to my new account. After careful consideration, I decided to give them another try and to my surprise, I was approved for a new unsecured MasterCard.

It’s still too early to know if they will add my previous past due amount of approximately $1500 - $2000 to my new account but since my new application is 6 years beyond my original default date and long past my states statute of limitations, I think I may be safe. So if you’re thinking about accepting a new offer from Capitol One after a previous default, at least be sure that you've exceeded your states SOL.

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One Reader Speaks

I received an email the other day in response to a January 2015 blog post entitled: Do you find "Bill Collectors Hate Me" Useful? It was the only response that I received on the post but its message was priceless!

The response was along the lines of: "Although you may not be getting much feedback on your blog, I’d be willing to bet that you have a lot more readers than you do commenters".

What the reader was trying to say was something that I already knew… And that is that most people find it very difficult to speak about bad credit, especially when it’s their own.

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When Logic Meets Ridiculous

When you’ve dealt with bill collectors for as long as I have, you eventually run across just about every collection scenario in the business. In one such scenario I received a call from a collection agent who was for the most part very nice and surprisingly a perfect gentleman throughout the entire conversation. The conversation went pretty much like this:

The collection agent tells me that my visa account was in collections and in order to settle the account, it would cost me just over $1000.00. I informed him that the credit card limit was only $300.00 and that I would be willing to pay the $300.00 to settle the account, as I was trying to clean up my credit.

He then informs me that the extra $700 was due to collection fees and interest. I remained calm as to not escalate the situation and kindly informed him again that I would gladly pay the $300 past due amount but there was no way that I was going to pay back an extra $700 in interest and fees…not in this life or any other for that matter. I never heard from him again.

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Repeated calls from bill collectors

Repeated bill collector calls are intended to embarrass you into paying back a debt. The embarrassment comes from calling your employer, friends and family members. By applying enough pressure, debt collectors are betting that you’ll pay a debt that you may or may not even owe, rather than deal with potential embarrassment…especially at your job.

I guess I’ve just been lucky in that I’ve always had jobs where I was virtually untouchable at work. A debt collector would either reach a switchboard operator who would never transfer calls or I had my own extension where I could easily differentiate calls from client’s vs debt collectors with a simple glance at the caller ID.

By now, my family knows my feeling on debt collection calls and have long stopped bothering to pass on messages from bill collectors. To my surprise, they didn’t even flinch when a debt collector threatened to serve me a summons at their home the next day between the hours of 3 and 5 pm. Did they ever show up? Of course not. They never do.

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Debt and Depression

If you’ve ever suffered from depression in your life, then you might be familiar with the term “depression shopping”. Depression shopping is when you shop for random items, usually for yourself, in order to elevate your mood if only for a few days.

Depression shopping gives the individual a high, the equivalent of what could be gained by drinking alcohol or indulging in some other kind of drug. People who’ve been diagnosed with bipolar disorder share some of these same characteristics.

Riding an emotional roller coaster, some days they feel great joy and happiness while other days finding themselves suffering from great sadness. Depression shopping often leads to the accumulation of debt that eventually goes unpaid. Before you know it, debt collectors are ringing your phone non-stop.

I want to make it perfectly clear that I didn’t write this article to make excuses for people who don’t pay their debts. I merely wanted to raise the point that it’s a possibility. Clinical depression is very real and should always be taken seriously, as one never knows what a person is going through inside their head.

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