20. Stopping Collection Calls

Among the most common calls that collectors make are the ones that reach the wrong people. The industry makes roughly one billion “consumer contacts” per year, according to a Federal Reserve study based on industry-provided data.1 Many of the calls go to people who happen to share a last name with a debtor, live at their old address, or—most frustrating for the consumer—have inherited a debtor’s old phone number.

These wrong numbers should be the easiest collection attempts to deflect. Common sense would seem to dictate that collectors who have reached the wrong person would quickly drop their efforts. Why would they waste their time dunning someone who doesn’t owe money? Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Because ...

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