If you’ve never had a problem with a debt collector, consider yourself fortunate. Debt collectors can be among the most obnoxious people on planet earth. I have read stories of people who were hounded five or six times a day – at home and at work – over a $300 bill. Debt collectors are people, too, and most of them act reasonably.
Unfortunately, there are those who are not so tolerable and whose only goal is to move money from you to their agency, regardless of what tactics are required. If you’re unlucky enough to tangle with a really obnoxious debt collector, it can feel as if a blood-sucking tick has fastened itself to the back of your neck.
Challenging debt collectors
It’s important to understand that you can always challenge a debt collection agency. These agencies are third parties and have to be able to demonstrate that they have the right to collect the debt. Many of these agencies, which actually purchase your debt, don’t have sufficient records or they have faulty documents and a questionable ability to collect from you. In fact, sometimes your debt might have been traded three, four or five times before you ever hear from a collector.
Got the debt but not the information
In many cases, the debt collection agency may have gotten the debt but not the requisite information. For example, the collection agency is supposed to have copies of the original credit-card agreement, its terms and conditions and a document showing that the debt had been assigned to it for collection.
If you find you are being harassed by debt collection agency, the first thing you need to do is demand that it prove that it’s really your debt and that it has the right to collect from you. To do this, you will need to send the collection agency a “debt validation letter” asking it to verify that the debt is yours and that it has authorization to collect from you in behalf of the original credit card company. You will need to send this letter registered and with return receipt requested so that you can prove that you sent it.
What comes next
You’ll have to wait for a response from the collection agency. If you’re lucky, you will be told that the agency cannot prove that it is your debt and your case is being closed. If it can provide documentation that the debt is yours, be sure to check the original date of the debt to see if it’s beyond the statue of limitations in your state. In the event that it is, you cannot be sued over the debt.
Get an attorney
If the collection agency continues to harass you over a debt that is not yours, you will probably have to get an attorney. A debt collection agency can sue you – regardless of whether or not the debt is really yours – but cannot collect if it isn’t. Collection agencies have also been known to file suit over a debt, hoping you won’t show up in court so that it can get what’s called a summary judgment and then put a lien on your property or try to seize one of your assets.
If the debt is really yours
If you are seriously in debt, you only have two alternatives. You need to either find some way to pay the debt or declare bankruptcy. While a chapter 7 bankruptcy will discharge your credit card debts, it will also leave a serious mark on your credit report for 10 years. Our credit counselors could settle the debt for you to get the collection agency off your back and to get you debt free in 24 to 48 months. Plus, we often save our clients thousands of dollars. Call our toll-free number today for more information or fill out the form you will find on this page for a free debt analysis and estimate.