Debt collectors are required by federal and state laws to contact consumers within a determined time frame and avoid harassment. However, some debt collectors follow unethical strategies in their attempts to collect outstanding balances. These unethical strategies are a direct violation of the law and present consumers with a chance to take legal action. Reviewing 7 tips for dealing with debt collections helps consumers determine when the agencies have overstepped and broke the law.
1. Hiring A Debt Consolidation Counselor
Hiring a debt consolidation counselor helps the consumer manage accounts once they’ve been sent to a collection agency. The original creditor sold the account to the collection agency, and the creditor has received payment for the account. When this happens, the collection agency increases the balance and hopes for the best. Meanwhile, the collection agency calls the consumer several times a day at all contact numbers listed on the account. Hiring a debt consolidation counselor helps the consumer get an opportunity to set up a structured payment plan to settle their debts and get settlement offers whenever possible. Settlement offers gives them a discount of up to 50% off the total balance. Consumers who want to learn more about debt consolidation can visit debtconsolidationnearme.com right now.
2. Dispute the Debt in Writing If It’s Not Yours
Disputing the debt in writing if the debt doesn’t belong to the consumer helps them stop the collection efforts. The dispute letter goes to the collection agency and to each of the credit bureaus. The letter to the collection agency is sent via certified mail, and the disputes for the credit bureaus are submitted via the bureau’s website. Once it is determined that the account doesn’t belong to the consumer, the collection agency no longer has the legal right to try to collect any proceeds from the consumer. The credit bureaus will conduct a thorough investigation, and their findings can stand up in court if necessary.
3. Never Give Out Any Financial Information
Consumers are advised to never give out any of their financial information to collection agencies over the phone. There are far too many scammers who can access credit reports and create fake invoices. These efforts are used to collect financial information from consumers for financial gains. It is recommended that the consumer investigate the agency online and determine if there are any scam reports against the company. If it is a legitimate collection agency, the consumer can use the website provided by the agency to make any payments for the debt. Using the one-time payment feature prevents the collection agency from collecting financial data and using for any further transactions.
4. Stop Harassing Phone Calls
Stopping harassing phone calls prevents the collection agency from calling the consumer numerous times a day. Even if the debt is legitimate, it is incredibly annoying for the collection agency to continue calling so much. According to the law, the collection agencies aren’t allowed to call earlier than 8 am or later than 8 pm. Some jurisdictions prevent the collection agencies from calling on the weekends, too. According to collection laws, if the consumer doesn’t want to receive any phone calls from the collection agency, they can send a certified letter to the agency requesting that the agency ceases all telephone communications and sends letters to the consumer only. If the collection agency calls the consumer after the letter is received, the consumer is within their rights to report the collection agency for harassment.
5. Keep Records of All Communications
Keeping records of all communications with the collection agency helps the consumer keep track of what they said and what the agency told them. The records prevent the consumer from forgetting vital details about the calls or agreements the consumer arranged with the agency. Recording the phone calls helps the consumer keep the most accurate records of the communications, and they don’t forget any details. The recordings could prove useful if the consumer must go to court against the collection agency in the future. The consumer should keep all letters sent to them by the agency, too.
6. Negotiate When Possible
Negotiating when possible helps the consumer get a settlement offer on their own. However, it is important to review the original balance listed by the original creditor. Collection agencies inflate the balance to collect more whenever possible, but the consumer is responsible for the original account balance and not the increased balance. If the consumer went to court, it is possible for them to pay the original balance to settle the debt. Since collection agencies are hoping to collect anything from the accounts, it is possible to get a reduced payment that is lower than the original account balance.
7. Keep All Phone Calls Short
Keeping all phone calls short prevents the consumer from giving the collection agency too much information. Providing too much information to the collection agency enables them to use the details when filing a legal claim against the consumer. If possible, it is better in some cases for the consumer to avoid talking to the collection agency altogether. It is better to allow an attorney or a credit counselor to talk to the collection agency instead. They understand what not to say to the agency and increase the risk of a lawsuit against the consumer. The calls are meant to collect any information possible to collect the balance.
Debt collectors cannot call consumers earlier than 8 am and no later than 8 pm. Some laws prohibit weekend calls, and all collectors must send a notice in writing to the consumer. Consumers have the right to dispute any debt if it doesn’t belong to them. Debt collection agencies are not allowed to harass consumers or contact the consumer on their job. If the consumer doesn’t want to speak to the debt collector on the phone, the consumer has the right to request the collector in writing to cease all telephone communications. The consumer has the right to seek representation through an attorney or credit counselor to speak to the debt collection on their behalf. Reviewing 7 tips for dealing with debt collections helps consumers make better decisions and avoid common mistakes.