(DailyTreasure.com) – The constant ringing of the phone when debt collectors call can be stressful. However, some collectors may be honest people doing their jobs and can work with you to create a plan to pay off your debts. If a creditor calls or contacts you about a debt you owe, there are essential pieces of information you must know when dealing with them. Here are some actionable tips for staying in control of the situation.
Get Information About the Debt
When a debt collector first calls, they’re generally legally required to inform the person about the debt during the initial communication. The validation details should include the creditor’s name, the amount you owe, and how to dispute the debt.
Also, consider looking at the terms of the agreement and ensuring the charges are similar to those in the original contract. This information will help you learn if the debt is yours and any additional charges, even if you can’t pay immediately. It could be a scam if the collector doesn’t have this information. Never provide sensitive financial information to any caller until you’ve confirmed they’re legitimate.
Get the Information in Writing
Legitimate debt collectors must send you a letter regarding any outstanding debt with the necessary information. The collector should send information about the debt, and you should send a written request about the debt so that you can document the details. When you get a letter from the creditor, verify that it’s a valid debt.
Communicate With the Debt Collectors
Once you get the validation information from the debt collectors, you should communicate with them as soon as possible after they first contact you. If you believe you don’t owe the debt or have already paid it, send a dispute letter to the debtors and keep a copy, or use any other form of communication.
When the collection company gets the letter, they must stop trying to collect the debt or send verification of the debt, such as the original bill for the amount you owe. Also, you can ask the debt collector to stop communicating with you in writing if they don’t verify the original amount you owe.
Do Not Tolerate Bullying or Harassment
While communicating with a debt collector, it is vital to understand you have protections from repetitive, threatening, and excessive communications. Per the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), a debt collector violates the law by engaging in predatory behavior like calling you late at night or threatening you in public. Here are other things debt collectors cannot do under the FDCPA:
- Debt collectors shouldn’t use inappropriate language when communicating with debtors.
- They shouldn’t lie or pretend to be attorneys.
- They shouldn’t harass or mistreat you.
- If an attorney represents you, the collector must not contact you but contact the attorney.
Any harassment or bullying by debt collectors is illegal under the FDCPA, and anyone should not tolerate such behavior.
Understand Your Debt’s Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations on debt restricts the time when debt collectors can legally file a lawsuit to recover debt from debtors. Generally, the statute of limitations varies in every state from three to six years and depends on state laws and the type of debt the debtor owes.
The time frame begins when debtors miss their first payment or the last payment period. Creditors cannot sue you after the period has expired to recover the debt. However, they can still try to contact you as long as they don’t violate the FDCPA regulations.
Try Settling or Negotiating
If you get a letter and verify that you owe the debt, and it’s still within the statute of limitations period, try settling the debt or ask the collectors if you can set up a payment plan. Remember to get the amount you’ve settled or paid in writing before initiating or offering payment details.
Understanding these actionable tips when debt collectors call you can help you deal with the situation. For instance, the collectors must follow debt collection regulations, so knowing your rights is essential to maintaining control of the situation.
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