Get Help Dealing With Debt Collectors – Know Your Rights
Money Help in Dealing with Debt Collectors
While researching an entry for the Personal Finance; An Encyclopedia of Modern Money Management, I came across the U.S. federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). This legislation governs what debt collectors can and cannot do. I won’t bore you with the entire legalize filled document, but simply share some of highlights.
If you are dealing with debt collectors, understand what they can and can’t do!
Read more: How to Clean Up My Credit History>>>
I know how persistent debt collectors can be! We’ve lived in our condo for almost 2 years and had a local phone number for the same length of time (I know, who gets a landline anymore?). At least once per day and occasionally multiple times, we get a call for Joan Doe (obviously not her real name). Comcast calls her regularly. I got an earlier debt collector off our backs when I convinced them that Joan Doe does not live here! Getting rid of Comcast’s calls for Joan Doe hasn’t been as easy. For whatever reason, Comcast will not believe us, which is strange since they have this phone number attached to our cable service.
According to the FDCPA, debt collectors are highly regulated. So, be aware of your rights when dealing with debt collectors. Here’s what the debt collectors can and can’t do.
What Debt Collector’s Can’t Do
Debt collectors cannot abuse you!
Debt collectors cannot threaten you with lies and say that they will throw you in jail.
Debt collectors cannot lie and state that they will garnish your wages.
Debt collectors cannot pretend they are attorneys when they are not.
Debt collectors cannot dress up in a uniform and pretend they are agents of law enforcement or the government.
Debt collectors cannot collect more than is legally owed.
Debt collectors cannot accuse you of having committed a crime (if untrue).
Debt collectors cannot contact you at work if personal calls are not allowed.
Debt collectors cannot use a false or misleading name.
Debt collectors cannot lie about representing a credit bureau.
What Information Must a Debt Collector Provide Me?
The amount you owe.
The name, address, and contact information of the original creditor (from whom you initially incurred the debt).
If you dispute the debt in writing within 30 days, the det collector must mail you proof that you owe the debt.
When dealing with debt collectors its crucial to understand your rights.
How to Handle Debt Collection Calls?
Don’t take it personally, even though it is stressful, it’s just a business transaction.
Keep track of your conversations and write down what was said along with the contacts name and date.
If you owe the money and don’t have the funds to repay, ask the debt collector if you can have a payment plan that is within your budget. Get the plan in writing.
If you are in the position of too much debt and not enough cash, only you can decide to kick the debt to the curb. Dealing with debt collectors can cause undue stress and damage to your self esteem and your relationships.
Take this step; Force yourself to write down all of your debt. It’s really hard, but without knowing how much you owe, you cannot begin to get rid of the debt.
Use this chart from How to Get Rich: Without Winning the Lottery:
Has debt been a problem in your life? How are you (did you) cope with it?