If you receive ongoing calls from debt collectors, the entire situation can be intimidating, frustrating, and overwhelming. While this is true, if you learn a few do’s and don’ts about handling these calls and take time to know your rights, you can take some stress out of the situation.
Additionally, when you know what to do or say if a collection agent contacts you, you will be able to avoid mistakes that may put you at financial or legal risk. Keep reading for some things to do when dealing with collection calls or speaking to collection agents.
If a debt collector calls you via telephone, you have the option to hang up – at least until you know your rights, know if the debt is really yours, and if the statute of limitations has passed. After all, need to ensure you do not accidentally give the collector useful information or say something that may reaffirm your debt.
The collections log is a written record that you create, including the time and date that the collector calls. You should also record the employee you talk to and what they say. You don’t have to create anything too fancy – just writing this information down on a piece of paper or in your computer is fine.
With a collections log, you can figure out who is calling and from what company. It will also help you determine how often specific creditors call and allow you to document any inconsistencies in what different collection agents say.
According to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, you have the right to request that a debt collector stop contacting you. You must submit this in writing.
Make sure you think about this carefully. If you want to know what is going on with the debt or remain in communication to negotiate a settlement, this may not be the best option.
If you don’t feel like the debt collector is contacting you about a legitimate debt or that you don’t really owe them money, let the collector know why. Sometimes collectors aren’t aware that it may be impossible to collect the debt. In some cases, if you have a valid reason, collectors will stop all collection efforts for the debt. This is because their time and resources are better used for consumers who don’t have a valid reason not to pay the debt.
If you feel overwhelmed or don’t know what to do, then speaking to an attorney about what options you have can be beneficial. Sometimes, filing for bankruptcy is the best way to halt collection efforts. An attorney can provide you advice and guidance regarding your specific situation and what you should do to protect yourself and your rights.