Dealing With Debt Collectors

Dealing With Debt Collectors

Money matters can be taxing on the mind especially when debt is involved not only because the onus of paying it back, that too in a timely manner, lies on you but also because sometimes dealing with debt collectors can be a nightmare.

As someone who owes them money, you feel like your rights are limited and pressure from the collectors is justified on their part. This is where the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act comes into play. Whenever there is a third party debt collector contacting you, you can always use certain rights that you have.

Dispute their claim in writing - If you are sure that you don't owe them the money, you are always free to send a written note or letter that disputes the legitimacy of their claims.

Understand the collector's limits - The debt collectors do not wield unlimited power and are limited by what they can do or say to you. Do not let them extort the money from you.

Record the conversations - It always helps if you keep a track of all the correspondence made by both parties through phone calls, letters or e-mails.

Before exercising your rights, you should make sure that you understand them fully. Here are some tips-

When you receive a debt collection notice that you wish to dispute, please know that if you send a written note explaining your stand on the matter within 30 days, the collection agency cannot contact you.

Make sure you state that you do not owe the money in clear terms. The language should be unambiguous and simple. Also, send the letter via certified or registered mail to avoid legal complications.

It is also imperative that you keep a copy of your reply with yourself too.

Understand that the agency cannot harrass you with repeated calls or use obscene language against you. They may also not call you at work if you have requested not to be disturbed.

The agency also cannot call before 8 am or after 9 pm unless you specifically agree for the same.

They also do not have the right to discuss your debt amount with anyone other than you or your attorney.

They cannot make any false claims regarding the debt amount or their identity. Pretending to be a law enforcement official or credit bureau representative is unacceptable. Any false claims about legal action also cannot be made.

You have to remember that they cannot threaten to seize your property or garnish your wages unless they actually intend to do so.

While recording the calls and messages, keep a track of date and time of the correspondence along with the amount that is quoted.

Last but not the least, you should remain calm and should not reply with excessive words. Say as little as possible and understand that panicking may lead you to say certain things which the unscrupulous agencies might use against you.

Also, understand that the same Act allows the debt collection firms certain rights too. If they have a concrete proof like a copy of the bill you owe, they can renew their collection activities and take the sort of action that the legal framework allows them. Proceed with caution when you are indulging in correspondence with such firms and always back up your claims with written records.

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