You Want You Should Swim With the Fishes?

By Becky Belding

With all of the financial dramas in recent years, it’s still perplexing that people continue to whine about the pettiest offenses committed by creditors. Apparently, Capital One’s “new” collection practices, and the potential horrible “creepiness” of the lender showing up at your door, is really freaking people out. Shame on them.

For most lower-end citizens, the idea of a creditor showing up at your door, or using underhanded techniques to contact you is no surprise. There is a cycle to collecting on defaulted accounts; polite email, phone calls, letters. Then when those prove ineffective, escalated collection tactics include more vitriolic letters, aggressive phone calls, text messages or emails, and possibly in person visits. The reason is clear: the customer borrowed money, they’re not paying back, and they’re avoiding contact.

These companies are not your friend nor your parents, and you signed a contract. The message is simple – they want to talk to you about why you’ve violated your contract. Creditors have to show record of making substantial effort to contact you for preparation to pursue more severe collections like repossession or court mediated intervention. Avoiding them only seals the deal when it’s time for repossession.

Of course the practice of having to stalk a borrower to get them to make their payment is unsavory, but the solution is certainly not requesting the lender use more palatable methods to collect; no one would pay back. The solution is to avoid borrowing if you don’t want to be stalked.  Capital One knows this first hand – they received over $3.5 billion in 2008 as their part of the bank bailouts, then promptly repaid it about a year later because essentially, they didn’t want to be “in debt”. This pales dramatically in comparison to Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, and Citigroup’s …ahem…$25 billion.

Some people find their feet in cement blocks swimming with the fishes, or crowbars smashing into their kneecaps if they don’t repay a debt on time. Getting a visit at work seems like an icy cold glass of milk and warm brownies in comparison. Pay your bills.


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