Friday, September 30, 2011

Can I Get Debt Collectors Off My Back?

Constant calls from debt collectors can surely bring stress to anyone. When a debt has long been past its due, a creditor may hire a debt collection agency to take charge with its collection. Nevertheless, some debt collection agencies may resort to harassment or unfair debt collection practices just to force a consumer to pay. If you find yourself in the same situation, what can you do? Is it possible to get debt collectors off your back? Consider the following advice:
1. Fight for your rights. The government has set aside regulations for debt collection agencies, specifically with regards to collecting debts. These regulations are all included in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act which can be found at the Federal Trade Commission’s website. Know your consumer rights and protect them.
2. Talk to your debt collectors. Hiding from your debt collectors would not solve anything. In fact, hiding or ignoring your debt collector’s attempts to contact you can only put you in a bad light. The best way to deal with debt is to respond to your collectors. Even if you can’t pay off your debts right away, explain to your debt collectors why you’re not able to submit your payment and try to come up with an arrangement that works. Show your collectors that you’re sincere about your obligations and that you have no intention of abandoning your debts.
3. Know who’s collecting your debts. If you creditor has assigned a debt collection agency, you should be made aware of it. A debt collection company must first send you a written document containing the status of your debts and your debt collection rights.
4. Practice your right to dispute. Are all the charges in your account accurate? Carefully examine your billing statements and receipts. If there are errors, don’t hesitate to dispute them by sending a letter of dispute to your creditor. Take note that you only have 30 days to dispute charges so make it a habit to check your bills regularly.
5. Keep records of your correspondence with your debt collector. You should keep all receipts, debt collection letters, bills and other documents for your future reference. When speaking with a debt collector over the phone, jot down the name of the person you’re speaking with and the date when the conversation took place. You can also give notice that you’ll be recording the phone call for your reference.
6. Request your debt collector to stop collecting. Yes, you can actually request to a creditor or debt collector to stop contacting you about your debts by sending a letter. Under the law, creditors and debt collectors should respect this request. Nevertheless, this does not discharge you from your responsibility to pay for your debts.
7. Let your debt collector know the best time to contact you. Let your debt collector know the best time to call you. If a debt collection agency still calls you up at inconvenient hours, you can file a complaint to your State Attorney General’s office.

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