When you do not pay your bills on time or forget them, they are sure to go into collection. If you are facing such a situation then do not panic. Dealing with debt collectors can be frightening, but knowing your rights can make things easy for you. It is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) that prohibits entities from engaging in any kind of abusive practices while collecting consumer debts. The act also entails the debt collectors to abide by time and place restrictions and provide a method for disputing and obtaining validation of debt information to the customers.
Here are some of the things that you should know when dealing with a debt collector.
Get All Information In Writing
According to the debt collection act, after a debt collector contacts you, they should send you a written notice within five days stating the exact amount that you owe, the name of the creditor, and the action that you can take if you do not owe the money. So, right after the debt collector contacts you, ask for information in writing instead of engaging in any sort of talk. If you believe that you do not owe the money, you can dispute the debt in writing. You should send in writing to the collection agency stating that you do not owe the money within 30 days of receiving the written notice. A debt collector cannot contact you after receiving your letter. Make sure you save a copy of the letter for future reference.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act also gives some rights to the collectors. A debt collection firm has the right to renew collection activities if they can provide you with proof of the debt, for example, a copy of the bill that you owe. Thus, you must keep a record of all the messages, phone calls, and copies of all written correspondence to and from the debt collector. Such paper trails will prove to be vital if the debt collector ever breaks the law.
Know The Restrictions On Debt Collectors
- There are several restrictions on debt collectors. Understanding them will make it easy for you to deal with the collectors. When making a call, there are several things that the debt collector cannot say or do. It includes-
- Use of abusive or obscene language
- Repeated calls
- Calling early in the morning or late at night without your consent
- Calling you at work
- Talking about your debt with others other than you and your attorney
- Misrepresent the amount of money you owe
- Falsely claiming to be an attorney
- Falsely claiming to be a law enforcement official
- Falsely claiming to be a credit bureau representative
- Threatening you to sue without taking any legal action
- Threatening to garnish wages
- Threatening to seize property
Make sure you negotiate with the debt collector as they might be ready to receive whatever payment they get. So, there is a good opportunity for you to work out a deal and pay less than what the full amount is. Another strategy is to offer a payment-for-deletion deal to the debt collector. As per the deal, you agree to pay the full payment and in return, the debt collector agrees to remove the collection account from your credit report card. To remove the debt, the debt collector will contact the credit bureaus directly. Not all debt collectors will agree to do it. But you can request the pay-for-deletion deal and ensure you get it in writing in advance if the collector agrees.
The debt collators are likely to use several annoying tactics, which at times may be predatory, even illegal, or worst. Thus it is important to know how to handle debt collectors so that you can claim your rights and select the best way to manage your debt.