Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Letting yourself become a victim

Over the last few months there has been very little in the way of progress in terms of real consumer protections - he who has the gold is timing the dribble of rules to ensure it doesn't seriously impede their control; most of what is going on is window dressing in preparation for the 2010 elections.

But I've finally reached a boiling point with messages from people who are literally letting themselves be abused by completely bogus debt collection schemes. If I had time to respond to them I'd need a staff.

Let me make this simple: You have no legal obligation to answer your phone. That seemingly all-powerful need to respond to the ringing of a phone is nothing more than a tool of predators.

What is it that drives people to need to not only answer the phone, but have an answering machine?

This isn't legal advice but I haven't found any case law that says an allegedly unanswered phone call has any legitimate bearing on the facts of a collection case. In fact, when no verbal exchange occurs between the alleged parties any allegedly recorded attempt at a call to you is meaningless. Any collection scammer can produce a supposedly computer-generated list of their system's alleged calls to phone numbers.

Given today's communication environment, the solution to NOT being harassed is available to anyone - don't answer the damn phone and don't have an answering machine. If you think you need to get calls from really important people set up a system where you only answer or respond within a minute or two to their calls - this isn't rocket science, folks.

In fact, to make it perfectly simple, connect a fax machine to the phone line. Or forward your primary phone (busy or no answer) to a fax machine somewhere - anywhere. Who cares where it goes? The predators are using machines to call you and when no human answers they will eventually move on.

Yes, if you owe a debt you owe it, but given the utterly specious and insidious nature of a huge percentage of alleged debts and the vultures that try to scam people into paying what they really don't owe, letting them put you in a position of being distressed via the phone is only preying on your long-held conditioned discomfort of letting the damn thing ring.

You don't have to be a slave to a noise.