You can run, but you should probably stop hiding from debt collectors. Yes, they can be annoying, intrusive and overwhelmingly pestering, but you need to remain proactive about handling it.
Debt Collection and the Facts
Before you decide if you can afford to make any sort of payments on your debt, you need to gather all of the facts. Ask the company to send you all of the information in writing, especially if you think there is something wrong with the amount they are trying to collect from you.
After you receive the documents, you will need to look over everything very closely to be sure that they are not trying to tack on any unnecessary fees or other charges. However, if you are disputing the debt altogether then you need to send the collector a letter stating this through certified mail service within 30 days receiving the written notice from your debt collector.
On the other hand, if they send you proof of debt, like a bill with your name on it, the debt will be renewed.
In an article from Nolo.com we get some clarification on why consumers become bombarded with calls from debt collectors, stating- “The servicing, buying and selling of debt has become so commonplace that often the original creditor does not have the account for very long. This is especially true if you have fallen behind on payments. Collectors and businesses you never heard of before may barrage you with telephone calls and letters.” You can read the full article on debt collection defense here.
Debt Collection Resources
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is a great resource for anyone dealing with debt collection because it helps you learn your rights when dealing with this issue. You’re also able to see more at debtconsolidationusa.com.
Here are a few rules you should know from the get-go:
- No abusive or obscene language.
- Calling you at work or incessantly.
- Calling you before the hours of 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
- Discussing your debt with anyone other than you or your lawyer representing that debt.
- Pretending to be the credit bureau.
- Threatening to garnish your wages or property without the intent to follow through.
Paying Debt Collectors
While the reason for your debt going into collections may due to a legitimate circumstance (illness, job loss, etc.), it doesn’t mean that you should ignore dealing with it responsibly. Once you can afford to start paying it back, there are a few factors you should look into first.
Do not use your debit card to set up an auto payment; instead send a paper check through the mail so that you have a paper trail and are in control of the amount they are receiving. Also, be sure to save all of your records concerning payment and overall interaction with this collection agency.
In the case that you cannot afford to pay back your debt, you have every right to ask the collector to stop calling you. They may try to bully you into paying something over the phone, but you simply do not have to. If they persist and you feel threatened, take down their name and ask to speak with their supervisor. At the very least, you should be able to get them to stop calling you. If you feel comfortable paying a portion, you can try to haggle the total amount down to 50 or 60 percent of the original amount that you owe. In this case, you should know that while you may pay less in total, the original creditor can come back after you for the remaining debt.
The bottom line is that debt happens to the best of us, and while financial mistakes may happen in your life, the only way to really have it go away is to confront it head first.
Other articles to help you with managing debt:
Learn more on Debt Consolidation here.
Should you use your 401K to pay off debt? Here is the answer.
Why Financial Zombies find themselves in debt.