We have worked in the credit and mortgage business for over 20 years and have had to deal with creditors on both sides of the fence. These are some things we have learned that you can try and are not in the books to help stop annoying and harassing phone calls.
Before you can do this effectively, you must determine exactly what your situation is and what you are trying to accomplish.
If you just want to stop the non-stop phone calls so you can catch your breath, then you probably have a good chance of success.
It will not happen instantly, but it will continue to get better. What it will not do is erase the debt. This will remain and its resolution will depend on you and your creditor.
I know that stopping the continual beratement can do a lot toward getting you on your feet.
If you are completely without income and looking at bankruptcy, then you may as well be able to eat dinner in peace and get a good nights sleep.
Be aware that when you terminate the constant calls, it may trigger more pressing action (law suits, forced bankruptcy, etc.).
For information on bankruptcy in your State, You Must Consult an Attorney! I cannot stress this strongly enough. Each State is different and this is not a "do it yourself" type of situation. Use a specialist, it will be worth it.
Depending on the creditor, they may sue or not, they may write it off, they may sit back and see what happens with you, hoping to get paid in the future, they may assign the debt to a collection agency who will write you lots of letters with all types of threats. Unless the letter is from a lawyer in your town, they are generally just trying to scare and pressure you.
Send them a certified return receipt requested letter telling them to stop calling your home, work, and cell phones (whatever is applicable). This is supposed to stop them, however, the guy on the phone may tell you he has not seen it and that may be the truth. He probably works on commission and does not get or open the mail.
Buy a small cassette tape recorder (Wal Mart) and a phone attachment (Radio Shack) for it. Answer every phone call with the recorder on like this. (and label & keep the tapes).
"hello?" "who is calling?" "who do you represent?"
If they do not answer these questions, tell them you do not talk to unidentified callers and hang up.
If they do answer the questions, then say this " very well, then please be advised that this entire conversation and all calls to this number are being tape recorded so state you business as concisely as possible and do not call here again".
They will usually give you some routine about how you can't do that, it's illegal, you don't have their permission, etc. You response is "It is, as long as I inform you, now do you have anything to say?"
Many will just hang up and start calling less and less or not at all.
Some use deplorable and illegal tactics. Things like suggesting that you send them post dated checks or threatening to contact your employers and other illegal tactics. They will certainly not want to be recorded doing this and risk going to jail. This alone discourages them and no one wants to work an account for no money and a jail term.
If you receive a lot of annoying collection letters from agencies (you quickly learn to tell them from the others), do not respond. Any response can be considered account activity. These letters are practically never sent with a delivery signature required. A response proves you received the correspondence. These get rotated from one agency to another on the hope you win the lottery or just get tired and borrow from your mom to write them a check.
We know how depressing and disabling these calls can be.
This course of action will not erase your debts or save you from bankruptcy but it will likely ease the constant annoyance of non-stop phone calls asking for money you don't have.
We sincerely hope this will help you out and give some relief from the harassment.