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How Should I Deal with Debt Collectors?


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Debt collectors have become a new nuisance we will have to get used to. Besides knowing that there are some illegal practices you can report, there is not much you can do to stop the harassing calls and letters unless you are determined to solve your debt problems and start acting accordingly.

Defending yourself from debt collectors’ abuse

There is a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act that protects you from Debt Collectors misbehaviors when doing their job. For instance, if debt collectors make harassing calls at imprudent hours or lie to you claiming or threatening to do something they are not legally entitled to do, you can contact an attorney and take legal action against them in order to cease the illegal practice and get compensation for damages and any legal fees you may have incurred in.

You need to know how the system works, this way, you will avoid getting nervous or making mistakes when talking to debt collectors. You should know that no action can be taken against your person if due to hardship you can not repay your debt. Moreover, even in the event of a bankruptcy, you and your family are protected by law and there are certain possessions that cannot be taken from you.

Be Prepared for Collector’s Calls and Letters

Keep records of any letter, note or communication sent to you by mail, email or any other means. Make sure your telephone company keeps a log of the incoming phone calls, dates and hours. Take note of any suspicious or threatening comment they make during phone conversations. All this information could be used in court or even in conciliation meetings.

There is an important right you need to be aware of: The right of verification. The Debt Collector needs to be able to verify and prove that you actually owe the money. Otherwise, he has to stop immediately with the collection process or could be take into court for damages and legal fees. So, whenever a debt collector gets in touch with you, you need to request them to send proof that you owe the money they are claiming before starting any negotiation.

Negotiating

For Debt Collector Agencies, Collecting money from debtors is their business. Most of the time they buy your debt from companies and financial institutions for a lot less money than you actually owe and then, if they get you to pay, they make excellent profits. If you show them you know your rights and you are willing to pay but currently can not do so, you could give them some options to choose from and get a good deal. For example, you can tell them you currently do not have the money but you would be willing to make small installments over a year to cover the debt or you could pay them 60% of the debt altogether but no more than that. They would probably agree to your proposition or maybe bargain with you a little more.

As you can see, debt collectors count on your lack of information as regards your rights and legal protections in order to pursue with collections. If you show you know where you stand, you are in a better position when negotiating. Never ignore the calls, always try to reach an agreement. This way you will avoid reports of delinquencies in your credit history which would lower your credit score.

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