Debt collectors are known to be disrespectful, threatening, predatory and annoying. If you’ve ever received a call from one, you may agree and have a vivid story of an experience with a debt collector. It is important that as consumers we know our rights when dealing with debt collectors.
Let’s outline the steps to take when receiving a phone call from a debt collector:
Let them know that all communication should be in writing and not to call anymore. This will stop the annoying, unwanted calls while you’re having dinner with your family.
Have an attorney look over the letters they send. One reason for this is because the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act requires the collection agencies to adhere to hundreds of rules including specific language that they must use or can not use. An attorney can spot these violations quickly and many will litigate on your behalf. Another plus is that the collection agencies are charged $1,000 per each violation. Easy money for you and no work on your part. (link to upload for Daniel)
Confirm that the debt is yours and that the charges are accurate.
Confirm that the collection agency has the right to collect the debt from you. (link to check)
Check your credit report. After confirming that the debt is yours and the collection agency has the right to collect, check your credit report to see if that account is being reported to the credit bureaus. This is very important!
If the collection account is not on your credit report: You want to get in taken care of immediately so that it doesn’t get added to your report and hurt your credit.
If the collection account is on your credit report: Paying the collection account will not help your score and can actually damage it further. This is because paying it (or making a partial payment) will keep the account on your credit report longer.
Dealing with collection agencies and debt collectors can be scary and stressful. Using these steps can help the process and protect you from companies that are predatory and possibly even illegal.