How To Handle Debt Collection Agencies
Figuring out how to pay off your debt can be a stressful experience – especially when debt collection agencies are involved. Dealing with debt collectors can make this even more stressful. However, there are ways that you can deal with these agencies without losing your cool. Following some simple steps will ensure that the debt collectors treat you with the respect you deserve.
Tip #1-Verify Everything
Never trust a debt collection agency to be honest with you. The only goal they have is to collect as much money from you as possible. Always keep a copy of your most recent statement for your records. Each statement should list the current balance, any late fees that have been charged and the interest rate. Dispute any claim that runs contrary to the information on your statement.
Tip #2-Record Any Phone Calls
Debt collection agencies from New York to California do not want to be taken to court. Recording any conversation that you have with a debt collector will keep the agency honest. Keeping good records will come in handy should you ever have to file a complaint with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act – FDCPA. The FDCPA aims to help you keep away from unfair practices according to the Federal Trade Commission. You are not going to go far with your claim if you do not have any proof.
Tip #3-Get Any Agreements In Writing
Any agreement to modify your loan should also be made in writing. You may not get the credit relief you are entitled to if you do not have any settlement agreement in writing. Bill collectors will say almost anything to you over the phone. However, they do not always honor the agreements they make. Putting any new terms on paper will give you indisputable proof that a new agreement was made.
Tip #4-Say As Little As Possible
You are not obligated to talk to a debt collector. Under no circumstances should you give out any information that does not relate to the current payment. Debt collectors will try to ask you questions that will help determine if you are able to pay. You have every right to hang up the phone if you feel like you are being harassed. Any statement that you make to a bill collector could potentially be used against you. Do not forget that your conversation is being recorded.
Tip #5-Know The Rules
Debt collectors also have to play by the rules as well. Some of the restrictions that debt collection agencies face include:
- Calling before 8am or after 9pm
- Calling at work – as long as you tell them to stop
- Discussing your debt with others
- Making false claims about your debt balance
You should contact an attorney if any of these rules have been broken. File a complaint in court against the collection agency that is harassing you. If you win your case, the collection agency may have to pay fines and other penalties.
Tip #6-Have A Witness
Producing witnesses to any abusive behavior will even help your case even more. A witness can be anybody who was present when the abusive action took place. You should also consider putting your phone on speaker anytime a collection agency calls you. Any witness who you produce needs to have heard the conversation as it took place. Anything else will be considered speculation.
Getting a phone call from a debt collector can also be a stressful experience. As ABC News shares, debt collectors make about a billion contacts with consumers every year. It does not matter if you are from Texas, Illinois or Pennsylvania. You have rights when dealing with anyone trying to collect a debt. Stand up for yourself by exercising those rights whenever necessary. Doing so will make it much easier to deal with anyone claiming that you owe money.