Get Help Dealing With Debt Collectors – Know Your Rights

By in Debt, Money Management | 8 comments

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! 

Dealing with Debt Collectors

 

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.

More Tips: Debt Is Not Forever-How to Live Debt Free>>>

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.

Action Steps

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:

v2_debt chart bfpf

The secret to getting rich {without winning the lottery}-click here.

Has debt been a problem in your life? How are you (did you) cope with it?

    8 Comments

  1. Luckily, I’ve never had a debt collector at my door because I’ve never been in debt to that extent where I couldn’t pay it back. It takes a special person to be a debt collector; they can borderline on abusive.

  2. @Daisy, It is so true that debt collection can be especially stressful. I’ve never experienced it as well, except for the inaccurate calls we get for Joan Doe who used to have our home number.

    Barbara Friedberg

    June 28, 2013

  3. Thankfully, I never had a collections problem. A friend told me about a scam of a collections company trying to collect on a bogus debt. He turned them over to his attorney. I think it is very important for the collection company to provide proof of any debt.

    krantcents

    June 28, 2013

  4. I guess the rules over here are similar but I don’t really know. The main problem appears to be ‘official’ debt to the minicipality and the like. They are very persistent.

    John@MoneyPrinciple

    June 28, 2013

  5. @BB- The government does a nice job of informing consumers of their rights! Don’t let fear keep you from taking control and keeping the debt collectors honest.

    Barbara Friedberg

    July 1, 2013

  6. I got a debt letter a few years ago from a local debt collector. Basically I forgot to pay the $5 per capita tax for my township. The debt collector said I owed them $35 for the tax and processing fees. There was a blurb in there about legal action if not paid. I decided to just pay it since I clearly owed the per capita…sucks though $5 turned into $35.

    thepotatohead

    July 1, 2013

  7. @The Potatoe Head- We got into a situation like this with a parking ticket on the Stanford U. campus. Got the ticket, fought the ticket. In the meantime, missed the deadline and ticket doubled. Long story short, ended up paying double for the ticket. Next time I’m just going to pay up!

    Barbara Friedberg

    July 2, 2013

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