If you carry a lot of debt, there’s a big chance you’re familiar with debt collectors calling or sending letters to you multiple times during the day. They might try to intimidate you and use predatory tactics to make you pay what you owe with lots of interest on top of it; therefore, you must know your rights not to get taken advantage of. Here are some tips on how to deal with debt collectors:
What Are Your Rights?
Just because you owe them money, it does not mean that you do not have rights. First and foremost, debt collectors cannot lie or threaten you or use any type of offensive language towards you.
In addition to that, they cannot contact you at any time they want. Debt collectors are only permitted to call you between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m while you’re not at work.
In order to avoid scams, you should also request some additional information such as a callback number, name, and address. People are also advised to request the name of the creditor and how much you owe to make sure the company is legitimate.
How Does Debt Collection Work?
Unpaid consumer debts such as car loans, credit cards, student loans, hospital or medical bills, and mortgage payments are often sold to debt collection agencies. They will then contact you using the address and phone number they gathered from the original creditor or elsewhere to make sure you pay the amount you owe.
Do You Know How Much You Owe?
More often than not, individuals who are in debt avoid even thinking about the subject. However, if you’re one of them and want to solve the issue, you should start by putting down on paper – down to the penny – how much you owe and where. That way, you’re not only taking the first step to paying your debt off, but you’ll also know if debt collectors are lying to you about it.
How to Deal With Debt Collectors
The first thing you should be careful of is not giving them more financial information than necessary, such as checks or bank statements, because that might help them to collect the debt in a forceful way. It’s best only to give them a money order or using a third-party service if you’re making a payment.
You can also try and negotiate better terms by offering a lump sum and negotiating a payment plan. You might even get a portion of your debt forgiven, depending on the situation. Just make sure to get the agreement in writing before making any kind of payment.
What They Can and Can’t Do
If debt collectors can’t find you, they are allowed to talk to a family member or your spouse to know how to get in touch with you, but they can’t tell them and try to shame you with others about your debt.
They might also attempt to make you pay old debts past the statute of limitations or even charge interest on top of your total debt.
However, they cannot intimidate you or threaten jail time. Debt collectors must commit to the truth. Therefore they cannot lie to you about how much money you owe or hide information from you.
However, be aware that they can take you to court to make you pay what you owe. Having said that, it’s crucial to reach a negotiation with debt collectors to avoid further hassles.