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Money matters: Handling creditors and collectors

Current economic conditions can challenge even DU graduates. Fuel prices are climbing to unprecedented heights; the number of home foreclosures is setting new records and the financial markets have more volatility than ever—all leading to increased pressure from creditors. Here are some tips, insights and suggestions for successfully handling creditors and collectors.

Be sleepy. Federal law prohibits collection calls before 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m. Nevertheless, many hard-hitting collectors would like to catch the debtor late in the day or early in the morning when they may be more susceptible to emotional pressure. Let the answering machine work for you at those times.

Stop the phone calls entirely. One of the best things to have on hand is a simple form letter that will immediately stop all phone calls. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) provides that once notified in writing that you wish no further telephonic communication, creditors must stop calling.

Be ready to educate the collector. Hold the protections of the FDCPA in your mind, or post them on the refrigerator. When appropriate simply say, “Do you realize that you are violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act of 1996, and the Act provides for a $1,000 fine for each violation?” (You might even go on to say that according to your calculation, they now owe you “x” amount of money, not the other way around.)

If problems persist, you can file a complaint online at

The full text of the FDCPA is available here.

C. Stephen Guyer (MBA ’82, MA ’83) is founder and president of Guyer Management Assistance Inc., which specializes in providing interim CFO services, structuring companies for rapid growth, creating corporate infrastructures, successful turnarounds, private placements, IPOs or profitable sale.

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