If you are being harassed by a debt collector, it is important that you know that you do not have to deal with being threatened for money you aren’t even sure you owe. Everyone has rights according to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA, and you should be prepared to make good use of them.
When it comes to confronting debt collectors here is some useful information that you should be sure to take note of.
Best Ways to Confront Debt Collectors
When people think of collection agencies, nobody thinks of nice people. There’s plenty of information you should be aware of to prepare yourself for confronting debt collectors.
- Don’t feel like you are required to respond to their calls. If you refuse to interact with them, it will be very difficult for them to bother you.
- Written correspondence is the ideal method to contact them. If you do need to confront a debt collector, you will have written proof of any unlawful threats. Send them a letter via certified mail with return receipt, so they cannot claim that they have not received it.
- If you want a specific person to stop contacting you, get their information and confront the collector directly, asking them to cease all contact. You can also direct them to your lawyer if you have one. They can still contact you to let you know that they will stop contacting you, but after that you should not receive any communications from them.
Your Rights When It Comes to Debt Collection
Though things may get intense when it comes to confronting debt collectors, there are many rights that most people are not aware of.
- Collectors may not contact you early in the morning or late at night. You are also within your rights to forbid them from contacting you at your job.
- It is your right to request a written document explaining exactly what you owe, to whom and what the options for paying it off are.
- If the debt collector is stating that you have multiple debts to repay, first make sure that the claims are real before you decide to pay them off. If they are, it is your right to choose how much money to apply to each debt. A debt collector cannot choose how your money is distributed between the debts, and if you have confronted the collection agency and are in the midst of disputing the debt, they cannot apply any payment to it.
- If a debt collector is persistent and ignores your demands to cease contact after you have confronted them, you are able to file a suit against them.
Your Obligations Concerning Debt Collectors
Although debt collectors can take advantage of people, it is important that you do not ignore any claims, as the ramifications can be very serious if they end up being legitimate. Consider these ways of keeping yourself protected and be aware of your own responsibility when it comes to debt.
- Be sure that should a collection lawsuit be filed against you, you respond as soon as possible, even if you are not sure if you legitimately owe the debt. Even if you have had bad experiences with confronting debt collectors in the past, it is imperative that you take immediate action. If you fail to take action, you may find yourself facing jail time. When served, you should receive a packet that will contain your court summons and the details of the complaint. It is advisable that you contact the court right away and verify that you have indeed been summoned. There will be a deadline to respond.
- You will have to agree or disagree to each individual item that is listed in the complaint. Should you disagree, you will need to state why.
- Ignoring the complaint will cause you to automatically lose the suit, and your debt collector will win. This could be incredible risky, as debt collectors are able to take extreme action to acquire the money from you. A levy might be placed on your bank account, or your wages may have to be garnished to repay the sum. There will be no escaping payment of the debt, as your employer may have to provide part of your paycheck directly to the debt collector, or your bank may provide part of your account without your express permission.
- Should you fail to appear in court, a judge may issue a warrant and have you arrested. Not paying fines will also be risking arrest.
Be sure to remain aware of all your responsibilities and rights when it comes to dealing with and confronting debt collectors. Failing to do so may cost you considerably and you may end up dealing with harassment that you could have otherwise avoided.