At their best, debt collectors and their practices can be annoying. At their absolute worst, they could be predatory or even illegal. If you’re being hounded by a debt collector, it’s important to know how to handle the situation.
Debt collector phone calls can catch you totally off guard. If you’re not careful, you could end up agreeing to pay a debt you simply can’t afford. You may panic and give them access to information you absolutely don’t want them having.
You have plenty of rights when dealing with debt collectors though, thanks to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. You don’t have to panic when you receive their calls. Here are some tips to help you handle that call when it comes.
Make Sure You Have Time to Talk
Debt collection calls can come in when you least expect them. If you’re too busy to pay attention to what the collector is saying, tell them to call you back at a time that is more convenient to you.
If you don’t engage them on your own terms and at your own pace, you might feel pressured in the conversation. Ensure that the next time the collector calls, you’d be ready with a pen and paper. It’s a good idea to take down the date and time of the call, the name of the collector, the debt they are calling for and the agency they work for.
Don’t Admit To Anything
The debt collector’s job is to get you to pay up the debt. They don’t really care if you don’t actually owe it or if you owe less than they’re asking. Your job is to make sure you’re not suckered into anything.
Think of the call as an interrogation where you’re innocent until proven guilty. Don’t admit the debt or accept a payment arrangement until you have all the necessary information about the debt.
Ask for Proof
It’s not uncommon for debt collectors to make up debts. You don’t have to take everything they tell you at face value. You can request written proof of the debt they say you owe.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act mandates the collector to send you a written notice within five days of contacting you. This notice is to state the amount of money you owe, the name of the creditor and what action you should take if you believe you don’t owe the money.
Interrogate the Debt
If you don’t believe you owe the debt, you can dispute it in writing. If you send the collection agency a letter to dispute the debt within 30 days of receiving the written notice of the debt, they have to stop contacting you until your claim is verified.
Make sure to send this response by certified mail though. It’s not uncommon for debt collectors to deny receipt of letters.
If you are receiving creditor calls contact us today to discuss your options!