If you are falling behind on your payments, the debt collectors will keep bothering you by calling time and again. But, you don’t have to feel intimidated and in fact, there are ways in which you can handle the debt collectors. Let us get to know more about the debt collection and the ways in which you can avoid debt collectors –
What is debt collection?
In the event when a debt is not paid for a certain period of time, it gets reported as ‘delinquent’. After a specific period of time, the creditors or your credit card company will quit trying to collect the debt. There are probabilities that your creditor may sell your debt to some third-party debt collecting agency in order to have at least some amount back and finally remove the debt from their record.
Earlier, it was your creditor who was sending you the bills. However, since you still have outstanding debt, the new debt collection agency will send you the notifications and reminders to pay off your debt.
Who is a debt collector?
Under the FDCPA, a debt collector is someone who regularly collects debts owed to others. This includes collection agencies, lawyers who collect debts on a regular basis, and companies that buy delinquent debts and then try to collect them. Here are some questions and answers about your rights under the Act.
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How to deal with the debt collectors?
Let us get familiar with the tips for dealing with the debt collectors –
Get the details in writing
As per the Debt Collection Act, the creditor or the collection agency, within five days of contacting you, should send you a written document stating the owed amount, the name of the debt collection agency or the collector, and what action to take if you have the belief you don’t owe the amount.
Go ahead and make the call
It is appreciated when you yourself give a call to your debtors. Mr. Bovee, who is the founder of Consumer Recovery Network, is of the view that people tend to have an altogether new mindset when they are the first ones to make a call to their creditors. When you are the one who is giving a call to your creditor, you are more prepared with a set strategy and know what exactly needs to be told.
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While you are having a conversation with your creditor or the debt collection agency representative, make sure you are calm and composed. If you lose your cool, you are going nowhere and you will only make things harder for yourself. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to your creditor at that moment, you can always ask your creditor that you will give him a call later. You can also tell your creditor that you will be recording the conversation; this will make your creditor to behave while having the conversation.
Know Your Rights
When it comes to debt collection, the debt collection agencies, usually, leave no stone unturned to traumatize you. This is where you should be familiar with the Debt Collection Act that has so many things that the debt collectors or your creditors can’t do. Following are the things you should be familiar with –
- Misstatement of the debt amount.
- Use of foul language.
- Wrongly claiming to be a debt collection representative.
- Calling before 8 am or after 9 pm unless you have given the confirmation.
- Intimidating to sue unless they actually have plans to take a legal action.
- Annoying you by calling time and again.
- Calling you at work even you have asked them not to.
Discuss with an attorney
It is always better to seek the assistance of a consumer law attorney or bankruptcy attorney. Most of these attorneys provide a free consultation. A consumer law attorney will make you understand whether collection actions, used by your creditor or debt collection agency, are legal. A bankruptcy lawyer will guide you what the collection agencies can and cannot do to collect from you. Some attorneys offer both services as well.
If the creditor or your debt collection agency says you will be sued or your property will be seized if you don’t pay, you don’t need to worry and you should ask for the specifics. When should you expect to receive the notification for the lawsuit or when will the collection agency take the money from your bank account? Be aware, some of these threats can be false as well, so try to gather more information about this, it would only come handy.
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Make sure you have the pen and a paper ready while you are having a conversation with the collector. It is important to note down the name of the person with whom you are having a conversation, the time of the discussion, and what was the discussion about. Don’t, by any chance, overlook the significance of these details. All these details will help you to have a record whether the creditor or any representative from the collection agency has broken the laws.
Save the emails
If you are having a conversation with your collector via emails, make sure you don’t delete them. In fact, such conversations have great significance and make sure you have read all of them thoroughly.
Know how much you can afford
It is always better to take some time out and decide the amount you can comfortably afford and make sure you only agree to that amount only. One of the best ways to work out the best debt settlement is to be able to make a round figure for paying off the debt. If you have given confirmation to a payment plan, there are chances you will end up paying more over time. If you do express your confirmation for a payment plan, it is important you have understood that total amount that you will be paying.
Have a discussion on your terms
It is important to know you don’t have an obligation to have a word with the debt collectors whenever they want. Yes, you do have a choice, so it is advisable to wait until –
- You have a pen and a paper.
- You have reached your home.
- You are prepared with a script as whatever you will say will be recorded.
- You are in a quiet and comfortable place.
- You feel calm and relaxed.
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Make sure you have a Debt Collector Call Script ready. You can have a script like this – “Before I say anything, it is important you prove to me that you are entitled to inquire me about my debt. It is my humble request to send me a debt verification letter and make sure you send it on the company’s letterhead”. Organize all your financial documents in such a manner that it helps you to answer all the questions easily and above all quickly.