Debt collectors are a relentless bunch, they call at ungodly hours and oftentimes ruin your day. But they actually work within parameters set by the law. So if you’ve been pursued by one, there are some steps you can take to make your experience a bit easier.
Here are 4 ways to deal with debt collectors:
1. Check the Facts
If your account has been passed on to a collection agency—and then another— double-check, and triple-check, your information to make sure it is all correct. Different parties may have kept your records differently, and there’s a chance the amount even the debtor is wrong. So, make sure you keep your paper trail stored digitally or physically, and validate the facts and figures they’re presenting to you.
Performing your due diligence is necessary to avoid paying more than you’re supposed to. If you even have a small hunch that something isn’t right, don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself.
2. Give As Little Information As Possible
Make sure to give as little information as possible when you speak with a debt collector. Don’t provide a date of payment, don’t give out payment details. Most importantly, do not let them force you to pay anything because, if you pay even just a portion of the debt, the statute of limitations will be reset.
Debt collectors will create a sense of urgency to make you give in. Instead of getting pressured, do step #1, and keep a record of the interactions that you have with the agent. There are also things they cannot do, so be aware of your rights.
3. Know Your Rights
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act provides you with plenty of rights. You can check out all of the rules by following this link, but you can also go through a few basics below:
- You can determine the time and manner by which the debt collector communicates with you, or even request that they cease to do so altogether, which they should follow with a few exceptions.
- Debt collectors cannot threaten you with the use of violence or use obscene or profane language when communicating with you.
- They cannot continue to collect payments within 30 days of the date you filed a dispute.
- They cannot mislead or deceive you to force you to pay.
4. Do Not Be Afraid to Negotiate
Debt collectors are trying to hit a quota. With that, they will take any amount they can get. So when you’ve done your due diligence, you can then settle for paying less than the full amount at first. See if you can agree on a payment plan that will be favorable to your situation. You can work out a gradual increase in the percentage of payment. And, make sure to put everything into writing, ask them to send you a written version of the deal.
Armed with this knowledge, next time a debt collector starts running after you, you can know how to deal with them. Also, it is important to make sure you follow some rules of decency yourself. These people are just doing their job. But don’t let them harass you into settling your debt, either.