The use of real time resolutions is becoming more common in debt collections, insurance claims and personal injury litigation. Realtors and underwriters use “real time resolutions” to facilitate negotiations between their clients and insurance companies. Realtor “warnings” about pending litigation have the effect of inducing the insurance company to settle the claim sooner than it would have been possible with a “citation-based” approach. For example, a real time resolution may be filed in response to a notice of nonpayment by the consumer to a bank, which then requests that the bank return the funds to the insured. If the bank fails to comply, the underwriter issues a “cease-and-desist” order compelling the bank to return the funds within a specific time frame.
Another use of “realsolutions” for debt collectors is in the arena of phone harassment. Telephone harassment is a practice that some states have taken steps to ban. However, many states have no statutory or regulatory limitations on the amount of time that debt collectors can exert on phone calls designed to harass debtors. One state, in the midst of efforts to curb phone harassment, adopted a two-pronged approach that punished those who repeatedly harassed others with monetary penalties and/or jail time.
Debt collectors have many options available to them to pursue the recovery of monies owed to consumers. However, in a very short period of time, they may find themselves facing an uphill battle against a professional debt collector with experience in these types of cases. Because the statute of limitations in most states bars the collection of past due and unpaid bills, the debt collector will often be unsuccessful for several years while trying to collect on a current account. One reason for this is that the statute of limitations will vary from state to state, and debt collectors will be well advised to obtain a current understanding of their jurisdiction before pursuing an account. For many consumers, the inability to pursue the resolution of a current account until the debt collector is paid in full often results in a negative assessment of a credit score.
Another common tactic utilized by these prolific debt collection agencies is what is known as “baiting”. In this tactic, the debt collector will make contact with the debtor by telephone or in writing to attempt to generate a conversation that will have the debtor speak to them about their delinquent accounts. Often, these calls are designed to frighten the debtor into paying the debt in full promptly. While it is clear to any reasonable person that the debt collector is legally permitted to engage in such tactics, the use of intimidation to obtain a payment from an unresponsive client is completely deceptive and can place the debtor in a position that could result in serious legal action.
As previously mentioned, most states prohibit the collection of past due and unpaid bills after the appropriate period of time has passed. However, the debt collectors know that this is one area where they can aggressively pursue a debt with little risk of prosecution. As a result, many debtors have been left feeling frustrated, confused and helpless when these unscrupulous harassment collection agencies have contacted them over again using an obscure telephone number or a wrong name.
When the debt collectors begin calling, you should always report the incident to the local phone hotline and express your concern for the harassment. You may also want to send a letter to your federal consumer protection agency informing them of the situation. In addition, you should post a complaint on the website of the National Foundation for Credit Card Alternatives (NFCCA) which is an international consumer protection organization. For more information on avoiding being targeted by these harassment collection agencies, visit the website listed below.