When dealing with debt collectors there’s one thing the experts all agree on, ignoring the dreaded debt collector call is probably not the best idea. “Deal with it!” they say or it will only get worse!
But before you begin dealing with a debt collector, it’s best you know what your options are. Here is a list of 10 tips experts share when dealing with debt collectors:
1.Avoid Dealing with Debt Collectors:
First try to negotiate with the original creditor to see if some type of settlement or payment arrangement can be made.
2. Know Your Rights
The US Federal Trade Commission or FTC has several publications available to educate consumers about their rights under the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act. It is against the law for debt collectors to make calls that are harassing, threatening or use abusive language and these violations should be reported to the FTC and your state attorney general’s office.
3.Don’t Ignore Debt Collector Notices
DO NOT ignore letters or phone calls you may receive about debts or court notices. Under the law you’re allowed to request in writing verification of your debt with 30 days of receiving any notice. Ignoring a notice from a debt collector could result in a negative notation being added to your credit report.
4.Consult a Consumer Attorney
If you are served with a notice from a creditor or debt collection company it may be best to consult with an attorney that specializes in consumer law. If you lose your lawsuit you could end up with your wages garnished. Also, sometime the statute of limitations could make your debt “non-collectible” depending on the state you live in. Simply showing up for the trial and requesting verification of the debt could result in the case being dismissed in your favor
5.Document, Document, Document!!
Be sure to document ALL conversations you have with debt collectors. Document the name of the person you spoke with, date and time, account numbers and who the original creditor is.
6.Protect your Bank Account’s
Debt collectors can in some cases file a law suit and have the courts freeze checking and saving accounts. This can be a big issue for people and families obviously eliminating access to funds needed for day to day living. People receiving Social Security or Disability checks (EXEMPT from court order debt repayment) should have a separate bank account set up for these funds.
7.Don’t give Debt Collectors Access
In some cases debt collectors may request banking information such as account and routing numbers. DO NOT give this information to them, instead set up a third party source of payment. It is not a good idea to allow debt collectors to withdraw funds directly from your personal bank account.
8.Record conversations with Debt Collectors
If you are receiving harassing or threatening calls from debt collectors, record your conversations. Let the collection representative know that you are recording the call. This will help keep them from using abusive language or using illegal tactics. In some cases it may eliminate the calls completely.
9.Get it in Writing
If an agreement is made to resolve a collection account, make sure you have an agreement in writing signed by the debt collection company representative. Make sure the agreement has all pertinent information regarding your collection account. You will make your payment as agreed AFTER you have this document in hand.
10.Use Certified Mail
Experts recommend using certified mail for any correspondence done through the US mail services. Verification that the debt collection company has received your requests for account verification or other proof required is important to the outcome of any potential court action.
Following these steps will definitely improve the outcome of any debt collector situation you might be facing. For additional information on dealing with debt collectors and your credit