Coping with debts you cannot pay is never a fun process, and it can be downright stressful to have debt collectors calling your home at all hours of the day and night to try to force you to pay. Debt collectors often use aggressive tactics to force you into sending at least some portion of your payment, primarily as they usually work on commission or on a system where they have to collect a certain amount of debt to meet quotas. Yet, debt collectors must obey the law and are constrained by specific rules. Dealing with debt collectors requires that you know your rights and take steps to make sure that any debts you pay are cleared up once and for all.
The following tips will help you deal with debt collectors to cut down on stress and, ideally, resolve your financial problems in the new year.
Please pay attention to the age of the debt they are trying to collect
Old debts are often resold for pennies-on-the-dollar, and you may find yourself dealing with debt collectors for a debt you’d almost forgotten you had. When a debt collector calls you to try to collect payment on an old debt, you must think very carefully before paying any portion of the money owed. Paying some part of the debt can restart the collections clock and make the debt collectible again.
Know your rights
Debt collectors are not allowed to contact you early in the morning or late at night, and they are not allowed to reveal information about your debt to family or neighbors (although they typically can contact people to try to obtain information about your current contact info if it is unavailable to them).
They also cannot threaten legal action or send you papers that look like legal papers that aren’t unless they are planning on taking legal action. Be sure you are aware of these and other consumer rights. If the creditors are engaged in harassing, abusive or dishonest behavior, let them know that you will be taking action.
Demand they prove you owe the debt
If a debt collector is calling you about debt, especially if that collector is not the creditor you initially borrowed money from, you can demand that they provide proof that you owe the debt. Proof of your debt may include copies of original credit documents or judgments against you.
Get a written settlement offer before settling our debt
Settling your debt is another option for dealing with debt collectors once and for all. Settling debt involves negotiating a deal where you agree to pay back a portion of what you owe in a lump sum, and the creditor agrees to forgive the rest. Credit counseling companies facilitate debt settlement agreements for people regularly, but you can do this yourself by writing a letter making a settlement offer.
However, you must get the debt settlement terms in writing BEFORE you send any payments to your creditors. It would help if you also tried to negotiate to remove any negative reporting from your credit report as a condition of the settlement. Again, get this in writing as well.
Always check your credit report
Whenever you pay off a debt, through settlement or otherwise, you must always check your credit report. Suppose debt collectors or creditors are not properly reporting the status of your debt. In that case, you can dispute the inaccurate, and an investigation will be conducted to make sure that the report is accurate. While removing the incorrect information can be slow, it is your legal right to dispute inaccurate data. It would be best to take advantage of that legal right to make sure your credit score isn’t being unfairly damaged by debt you’ve settled or paid.
Thank you for reading and hope you have a good rest of the day!