Few other fields attract as many complaints as debt collection. Debt collectors, in particular, have a less than pleasant reputation, with even the nice ones proving to be a nuisance over time.
For most people, debt collectors can become an overwhelming burden. Not everyone realizes the rights they have and the limitations of debt collectors, this allowing them to fall prey to debt collection tactics they shouldn’t be permitting.
When it comes to debt collection, the key to successfully dealing with debt collectors is knowledge. You need to understand what these men, women, and organizations can and cannot do.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Debt Collection
Debt collection is a concept that sometimes strikes fear in the hearts of people because they do not understand what the idea of debt collection truly entails. The term debt collection refers to an account sent to a third party debt collector. Debt collectors are people whose job it is to collect unpaid debts on behalf of other parties.
What to Do
If you find yourself facing overwhelming debt collection calls and visits, these are some steps and actions that you should take to better deal with the situation:
1). Collection Log
You need to keep a record of every call you receive from a debt collector, this including the time and date, the name of the person you spoke to and what they actually said. Creating a collection log isn’t a particularly tedious task. A simple notepad dedicated to the task of recording your conversations with a debt collector will do.
Collection logs will help you keep track of your interactions with debt collectors, noting any inconsistencies with regards to their questions and the requests they make.
2). Prohibition of Contact
Believe it or not, you do not have to deal with debt collectors if you do not want to. There are regulations in place that permit you to request that a specific debt collector stops contacting you for one reason or another.
Of course, this isn’t the sort of action you should take lightly. In order to successfully maneuver all the issues surrounding your debt, it is essential for you to keep the lines of communication between you and your collector open. This makes the process of negotiating a settlement that much easier.
Do not be afraid to tell your collector that the debt they are trying to collect is illegitimate. Collectors are human beings. They are not always on top of things and sometimes they are unaware of the fact that some of the debts they are handling are uncollectable.
If you give the collector a legitimate reason why you don’t think you owe a given debt, they will more than happily cease their activities against you, primarily because they have other consumers upon whom their resources would be better spent.
4). When you can’t Pay
If you cannot pay your debts, tell the debt collector. Collectors are not obligated to stop collecting on your debts just because you have financial complications. However, if you explain yourself and provide valid reasons why your situation doesn’t allow you to make your payments, your collector is less likely to refer your file for litigation. They are also more likely to move on to other targets.
5).Providing your contact information
The worst thing you can do when faced with a debt collector is to hide from them. A surprising number of people have been known to move and even change their phone numbers.
You need to realize that hiding your whereabouts will not dissuade your collector from his mission. Rather, they will simply reach out to every person you know and who they think might know your whereabouts.
Your do not want your debt collection situation to bleed into your personal and professional life. You are better off giving your collector your current address and contact information.
6).The limits of a debt collector
Every person should take the time to understand the concept of debt collection. Understanding what collectors can and cannot do will help you keep them in check, especially when they start harassing you.
Collectors cannot threaten you with violence or harm, and neither are they allowed to be obscene or profane. Additionally, they cannot publish your information, call you at work (especially if they have been told that your employer disapproves of such activities), or lie to you about the legal consequences of failing to deal with your debt situation. Dealing with collectors is easier when you understand their limitations.
What Not to Do
Because of the stress debt collection can cause, people understandably make mistakes, taking negative situations and making them so much worse, some of those more prominent mistakes that one should avoid including the following:
1). Personal Information
Do not give your debt collector your personal financial information. This includes bank account numbers. There is no reason to tell your collector the value of your assets. You do not want to give collectors more ammo that they can use to collect from you in case you lose a lawsuit.
2). Good Faith Payments
Do not make good faith payments to collectors. These small payments are usually made by consumers who believe that they can keep collectors at bay, preventing them from being sued even while keeping their credit intact.
In fact, Good Faith payments favor debt collectors by essentially extending the statute of limitations on a given debt.
Do not lose your cool when dealing with collectors. Screaming, using profanity or showing hostility will not help your cause, especially during interactions over the phone. Your collectors can use your call records in court, attracting some less than favorable judgments your way.
4). Admitting your Debt
You should never admit that your debt is valid, even when it is clear that you owe the money your collector is suggesting. Additionally, do not make promises about what you intend to pay or repay down the line.
Your collector can choose to interpret such language as a separate contract. That will only renew the statute of limitations for your debt.
Try to remember that debt collectors are not allowed to harass you. They can make contact with you with the aim of politely acquiring the information they need or reminding you about what you owe, but they cannot unnecessarily disrupt your life.
When they do, remember that it is within your power to report them and, hence, stop them from contacting you.