Tips to Handling Debt Collectors
A recent report from the Urban Institute suggests that 1 in 3 U.S. adults have debt in collections.
Many Americans are lagging behind on their debt payments. This results in their accounts getting put into collections. If a debt collector has been contacting you, you should know your rights before engaging in conversation about your debt.
Here are some tips on what to do if you are contacted by a collector:
Know Your Rights
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act states that debt collectors cannot use abusive or obscene language, use any threats of violence or harm, repeatedly use the telephone to annoy and harass a debtor, call before 8 am or after 9 pm, or talk to a third party about your debt. In addition, they must respect your request to not call you at work, if you have indicated that. A debt collector may only contact other people regarding your debt that you have approved of, such as an attorney or a family member. If you hire an attorney, you can inform the debt collector to contact them and cease all forms of communication with you. If you feel a debt collector has violated your consumer rights, you should file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
Make Sure the Information is Accurate
Check your credit report from each of the 3 credit bureaus, you can check all three on the Annual Credit Report website. It’s important to verify that the acclaimed debt is actually yours. Shockingly, The Federal Trade Commission reports that 1 in 20 consumers have errors in their reports. 24% of those mistakes people reported were regarding debt that was not actually theirs. Ask the debt collectors for verification of debt. If you believe the debt is invalid, you have 30 days from when you are first contacted by a collector to dispute the validity of the debt.
Don’t Be Afraid to Negotiate
Collection agencies will often pressure you to pay all your debt at once. However, know that there are usually options. To pay your debt you can pay a lump sum, work out a payment plan, or enter into a settlement. Explain to the debt collectors what you can afford to pay and ask to settle for that amount. If you are able to strike an agreement, make sure you get confirmation in writing before you make your payments. This can help to avoid potential miscommunication. This can be tricky, so you may want to seek help if you are overwhelmed or confused about the situation. If you feel you need further assistance in handling or settling your debts, you can call Tayne Law Group today for a free phone consultation at 631-470-8204.
It can be stressful to have debt collectors contacting you, but there are options to reduce and eliminate the amount of debt you have. One option is to work with a law firm like Tayne Law Group. We will receive the creditor calls on your behalf while we negotiate the debts. Contact us at 631-470-8204 for more information about getting harassing collectors to stop calling!