Being subjected to a debt collection call can be very frustrating and stressful. When you start receiving them, it is a sign that you had been defaulting on your payments. If you do not act on it, you can very well expect things to turn very ugly.
These collection calls will soon start to turn your life around and be a constant reminder of how you failed in handling your finances. But did you know that there is a right way of dealing with debt collectors when they start calling you? Even if you cannot help defaulting on your payments, you can turn this thing around and to keep it from ruining you focus on getting out of debt.
What to do when you receive a collection call
So what should you do when you start receiving these calls?
Before we enumerate that actual things that you must do, it is very important that you understand this: never take it personally. It will only make you very emotional and will keep you from having a clear head when you talk to debt collectors. Know that they are only doing their job and are not intentionally out to hurt you. The debt that you owe is really your responsibility and you have to accept that.
However, they can admittedly be very tricky because they really want you to pay what you owe. So when you do receive a call, here are a couple of things that you must do.
Stay polite and take time to attend to the call. In case they catch you at a bad time and you cannot sit down to talk, tell them politely that you are busy at the moment and then give them a time in the future that you will be available to take their call. Make sure you are available then.
Always have a pen and paper when talking to debt collectors. Take note of the date and time of call, who you are talking with and the company they are representing. If you are receiving collection calls for more than one debt, indicate the account, original creditor and debt amount. Write in detail anything that is discussed that you know will be important in any future negotiations.
Never admit to the debt immediately and have them verify it for you. Do not waste your time taking calls for a debt that is not yours. Check if the debt passed the statute of limitations and ask them to send you a verification of that particular debt. If they cannot do that, tell them to stop calling you. Again, do it politely.
Do not tell them information about your income and the other debts that you owe. Just focus on the details of the debt that they are collecting from you.
Decide on your next action after the call. Do not forget about the debt once the call is over. If you are given the verification that the debt is yours, make sure you come up with a plan or proposal to help you get out of debt. You can ask for a settlement, propose a payment plan or send them a cease and desist letter to stop the calls. Of course, the latter could prompt the collections agency to file a lawsuit against you if you do this so just be ready for any incident that could happen.
Know the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
All collection calls are subjected under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). If you want to continue talking to debt collectors in hopes that you can reach an agreement with them when it comes to debt payments, you need to learn what this law is all about.
There are three important things that prompted the government to implement this law.
To stop the abusive behavior of debt collectors/creditors.
To encourage collectors/creditors to use fair collection methods.
To provide consumers with the me3ans to file complaints against violators of the law.
The FDCPA mandates debt collectors to provide only truthful representations of themselves, the collection agency and the debt that they are collecting. This law also lists how they should verify the debt of the consumer – complete with what has to be put on paper. It also tells collectors how they should file a legal act against the consumer – if it ever comes to that.
Probably the most important part that you need to read about in this law is the prohibitions that it details. Debt collectors are not allowed to be abusive, misleading, threatening, harassing and downright rude to you. If they are, you have every right to file a complaint through your State’s Attorney General’s office or the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
How to stop collection calls from happening
In case the debt collection call is starting to make your life miserable, you have a few options to stop them from happening. Sometimes, you need the peace and quiet to help you concentrate on making more money for your debt payments. Here are some of your options.
Send a cease and desist letter. Wanting to stop collection calls simply requires you to send them a letter that says so. The FDCPA requires them to follow and stop communicating with you. They are only allowed one last communication and that is to tell you that they will honor your wishes and will take legal action against you.
Pay off your debt. This is what your collectors want you to do and when you follow through, they will stop bothering you. If you cannot pay for the current payment plan that you are under, you can negotiate or look for a debt relief program that will make payments a lot easier for you.
Hire a debt professional. Another way to make collectors back off is to hire someone to take the calls for you. Debt settlement and debt management are debt relief options that include taking over collection calls for you. Or you can hire a lawyer to take the calls on your behalf.
Any of these options will stop the collection calls. But be reminded that if it is a debt that you owe, ignoring it is not the best course of action. There are debt relief programs that can suit your particular financial situation and allow you to get out of debt despite your limited resources.