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Everything You Need To Know To Deal With Nasty Debt Collectors

stressed old manWhat’s worse then being seriously in debt?

It’s being seriously in debt and having to deal with debt collectors.

The problem is that these people usually work on a commission basis and have a quota. If they want to get paid and keep their jobs they must collect money from you –by hook or by crook, which is an old English phrase that means by any means necessary. And trust us. Debt collectors will use any means necessary up to and including threatening to go to your employer or your relatives, to take you to court, to have you arrested or to sue you.

“I’m mad as hell”

If you’re one of the millions of Americans being harassed by debt collectors you may have reached the point where you’re like the character Howard Beale in the movie Network and are saying to yourself, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore.”

Well, you’re right. You don’t have to take being pressured by debt collectors anymore. You have rights and when you know what they are you can either stop any more phone calls or at least negotiate favorable settlements of your debts.

The first thing to do

First of all, a debt collector has to be able to prove the debt is actually yours. We live in a nation of more than 330 million people, many of whom have the save names and have done business with the same companies. Last I looked there were at least 30 other people just on Facebook with the same name as mine and isn’t John Smith, Bob Jones or Tom Brown.

So the next (or first) time a debt collector calls, make him prove the debt he’s trying to collect is yours. You can ask him for the name and address of the original creditor and the exact amount you owe. If the collector is unable to provide this information, he has five days to send you a written notice with the information you’ve requested. You could also dispute the debt by writing a letter to the collection agency asking that it verify the debt. This could mean requesting a copy of the statement showing your balance, a copy of the original credit agreement or any other information you deem pertinent. Once the collection agency receives your letter it has 30 days to respond during which time it is not allowed to contact you.

If the debt is really yours

If the debt collector is able to prove the debt is yours, you have a couple of choices. First, you could try to settle it for less than you owe. One thing the debt collection agency doesn’t want you to know is what it paid for the debt. In most cases the original creditor (think bank or credit card issuer) bundled up a bunch of debts it had written off and sold them to the collection agency for pennies on the dollar. If your original debt was for $500, the collection agency mighjt have paid five dollars or even less for it. This means there is room to negotiate. You could offer to settle the debt for, say, $50. The collector can then either accept your offer or make a counter offer. In either event the odds are that you’ll be able to settle the debt for much less than its face amount.

Make the collector stop calling youDebt collector hollering into mic

A second alternative is to make the collector stop calling you and then just wait to see what happens. Yes, you read that right. You can make the collector stop calling you. In fact, all you need to do is write and send his agency a cease and desist letter. You can find samples of this letter by clicking on this link. Be sure to send the letter certified and return receipt requested so that you can prove the collection agency actually received it.

If the collection agency does indicate that it received your letter (which it may not do) it can contact you just one more time to either acknowledge it won’t be contacting you again or to inform you what legal action it will take next such as suing you.

If you’re lucky

Once the collection agency has stopped contacting you, start holding your breath to see what it does next. If you’re lucky it will simply go away and you won’t hear from it again. If it’s a big debt you may not be so fortunate. The agency might sue you or sell your debt to yet another collection agency, which would then start harassing you.

Get an attorney

A third alternative is to hire an attorney to represent you. Of coarse, you wouldn’t want to do this unless it was a very large debt as you will have to pay the attorney somewhere between $100 and $500 an hour for his or her services. But once the debt collector knows you are being represented by an attorney, he will generally stop calling you and will contact your attorney instead. This means the debt collector must know your attorney’s name and contact information. If you do have an attorney and receive a call from a debt collector make sure you tell him that that you are being represented by an attorney and that he should start contacting him or her and not you.

Understand your rights

Assuming a worst-case scenario – that the collection agency continues to harass you over the debt – it’s important to know what it can’t do. This is covered in a law passed by Congress several years ago called the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). It sets out what a debt collector can and can’t do. The most important things it can’t do are …

  • Call you prior to 8:00 AM or beyond 9:00 PM unless you give the collector permission to do so
  • Contact your employer unless your debt is past-due child support
  • Call you where you work if he knows your employer doesn’t want you to be contacted there
  • Send you a postcard or envelope that clearly indicates it had been sent by a debt collector
  • Call your neighbors, friends or relatives about the debt in order to embarrass you into paying it
  • Use an envelope or post card that makes it appear that it came from a court or government agency
  • Call you frequently during a relatively short amount of time as this constitutes harassment and harassment is illegal under the FDCPA.
  • Force you to accept collect calls from the agency
  • Swear or insult you when you’re talking or threaten to ruin your reputation or have you jailed
  • Try to collect more than your debt unless the contract it has with the creditor allows this

What to do if the debt collector violates the FDCPA

If the debt collector does any of the things listed above, you could file a complaint with the Consumer Finances Protection Bureau either online or by calling (855) 411-CFPB (2372). You can report any problems you’re having with a debt collector to your state’s attorney general. You might also be able to sue the debt collector in your state’s or federal court. If you are successful you could win up to $1000, which is not a huge amount but you would also win a lot of self-satisfaction in having beaten the collection agency.

What Happens If You Just Ignore A Debt Collector?

man shouting at phoneIf you’ve ever had a debt turned over to a collector you already know how bad things can get. We’ve heard stories of people who were hounded multiple times a day – both at home and at work – had their relatives contacted and were dragged into court. Unscrupulous debt collectors can and will make a debtor’s life miserable until he or she finally gives in and pays up.

The dirty, little secrets of debt collection

Why will most debt collectors stop at nothing until they get your money? The first dirty little secret of debt collection is that most collectors are paid on commission. If they spend several hours hollering at you, threatening and harassing you without colleting anything they’ve basically worked free. What this means for the collector is that the bigger the bill the better. In many cases the agency will get a bounty of 10% to 50%, which is usually split with the collector. Top collectors can earn as much as $10,000 a month.
The second dirty, little secret of debt collection is that agencies generally buy debts for pennies on the dollar. In other words, the collection agency might have purchased your $1,000 debt for $20 or less. This gives the collector room to negotiate and still earn his or her commission. This means that in many cases, you could probably settle that $1000 debt for $500 or less.

You  can run but you can’t hide

Today’s technology has had two impacts on debt collection – one good, one not so good. First, if you have any kind of caller ID you can check your incoming calls and if it appears to be from a debt collector, just ignore it. That’s the good part. The bad part is that it’s almost impossible to run away from a debt collector – even by changing your phone number.

In the event you have a debt you feel you just can’t pay, you could stonewall the collector by ignoring all of his calls. Legally speaking, you do have the right to ignore a debt collector but it’s important to understand that this doesn’t make the debt go away.

A number of different scenarios

If you decide to ignore a debt collector, there are several different scenarios that can occur. First, the collector could just leave you alone. Maybe he simply can’t find you and has quit trying to track you down. While this could happen, it’s not something to count on.

Your credit will suffer

When you have a debt go to collection, your credit score will be seriously damaged. It will appear on your credit reports regardless of whether you try to work with the debt collector or not. However, if you do talk with the collector, you at least have the opportunity to explain what the problem is and to try to work something out.

The debt could grow

Just because you don’t pay on a debt doesn’t mean that the interest will go away. Depending on the contract that the collector has with the creditor and your state’s law, the agency may be able to add interest and collection costs to your debt. Some debtors have reported that their debt actually doubled over time.

You may be bounced from one agency to another

Just as lenders sell debts to collection agencies, the agencies sell debts to one another. If the first collector that contacts you is unsuccessful at collecting the debt, it could wind up at a different agency. And this could happen multiple until you give up and pay the debt.

People you know may be contacted

In the event that the debt collector tries to reach you and is unsuccessful, the law allows him to reach out to third parties such as your neighbors, relatives or your employer – but only to find you. The law doesn’t allow a collector to disclose the fact that you owe a debt or to discuss your finances with other people. However, it can still be very embarrassing if the person the collector called starts asking you pointed questions like, “why did this collection agency contact me?”

You could be sued

If you fail to communicate with a debt collector it may leave the agency with no option but to sue you. While it is possible to successfully defend a debt collection lawsuit, it’s very difficult. And if the agency is successful in court, it can get a judgment entered against you. This in turn would allow the collection agency to garnish your wages or even go after your bank account.

The stress will increase

Trying to dodge a debt collector can leave you feeling very stressed out. It can be scary or frustrating to talk with a debt collector but the alternative – which is not to talk to him – can be just as stressful. If you call the debt collector, this is the friendliest aspect of debt collection because at that point he will want to work with you to try to resolve the debt. The bottom line is that if you have an unresolved collection account, try to decide on your approach and then pick up the phone – or write a letter – so you can put the debt behind you. Also, because collection accounts have such a dramatic impact on your credit score, it’s a good idea to get your free annual credit report to see whether or not you have any outstanding collection accounts. You should also be sure to monitor your credit scores every month.

Tips for negotiating with creditors

If you take a call from a debt collector, he or she will have no interest in why it is that you can’t pay the bill. But if you’re in a hardship situation, the collector does need to know this and what it is you’re doing to get back on track. You should have a story ready and then stick to it. This could be just a few sentences that you can use consistently when you talk to a creditor. For example, “I was very ill, out of work for two months and now I am trying to get caught up.” Or “my husband was laid off and I’ve taken a significant cut in pay. He’s looking for a job so we can catch up but we don’t have any money right now.”

Don’t be a drama queen

You’ll get nowhere with a debt collector if you lose your temper. It’s important to stay calm and not lose your cool. If you find yourself losing your temper, just tell the collector you will need to talk with him later and then hang up. In the event that you have to talk with that collector again, tell him you would like to record the conversation. This usually keeps collectors on their best behavior.

Ask the right questions

If the collector threatens to sue you or that you’ll lose some property if you don’t pay up, ask for specifics: “When will I be notified of the lawsuit?” Or “When will the money be taken from my bank account?” Some of these threats may be a illegal and the more information you have the better.

Be sure to take notes

Whenever you talk with a collector, have a pen and paper handy so that you can take notes. Be sure to write down the name of the person you talk with, what was discussed and when you talked. This will not only take much of the emotion out of the deal but you will also have a record if the collector broke the law when attempting to collect from you.

Know exactly what you can afford to pay

Sit down with a notepad or spreadsheet and go over your expenses and income very carefully. Figure out exactly what you could afford to pay and agree to pay only a realistic amount. In general, if you can come up with a lump sum amount to resolve the debt, you’ll get the best settlement. If you can’t do that, you may have to agree to a payment plan. In this case, you’ll probably pay more over time. If you do agree to a payment plan, make sure you know the total amount you will be required to pay.

Deal with creditors and not collectors

What’s best is to try to work out an agreement with your creditor or creditors before your bill(s) is sent to collection. If you make late payments this will affect your credit score and credit reports, but collection accounts will do even greater damage. You should know that it’s a myth that so long as you are paying something towards a debt it can’t be turned over to a collection agency. Also, understand that once a debt is sent to collection, you have no choice but to deal with the collection agency.

Get it all in writing

If you do agree to a payment arrangement or settlement agreement, get everything in writing before you pay a cent. If not, the terms can change and it will be your word against that of the collection agency. There have been many cases where consumers were hounded for balances they thought they had resolved years before.

Finally, here is a video courtesy of National Debt Relief with some good tips for dealing with debt collectors.

How To Stop 99% Of All Calls From Debt Collectors

man shouting at phoneDon’t let calls from debt collectors frighten you. There are realistic ways to stop those harassing phone calls as you do have rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Telephone Solicitation Act. Here’s a 9-step program that is usually able to stop 99% of those nasty phone calls.

Step 1: Never discuss the debt

Just refuse to discuss whichever debt the collector is calling about.

Step 2: Get their name, address and phone number.

When a debt collector calls, make sure you get his name, telephone number and mailing address. You want to make sure the collector knows you can specifically identify him in the future if necessary.

Step 3: Make a phone log.

Start a phone log next to your telephone. Write down when you receive any calls along with their times and dates.

Step 4: Refuse to provide any information

Don’t give the collector any information about yourself, including your phone number, address, banking information, driver’s license number or Social Security number. Do not acknowledge the accuracy of any information the collector provides. You can confirm that you are the right person but don’t have to reveal anything else. This is because any information you provide will be included or summarized in a call management software database.Young man trying to learn about debt reduction

Step 5: Inform the collector that he has the right to remain silent

Tell the debt collector that you are recording the phone call and that he has the right to remain silent and that anything he says may be used against him in a court of law. The collector will probably end the call at this point. If not tell the collector that you do not want to receive any more calls from this organization and that any future calls will consist of harassment and will be a Class 1 Misdemeanor under your state’s law.

Step 6: Make him personally responsibility

Let the collector know that if you receive any more calls from his organization you will hold him personally responsible – individually – with your state’s attorney general’s office.

Step 7: Request validation

Insist that the collector provide validation that you owe the bill and that he has the right to collect it. Never say that you will not pay the bill and again, do not discuss anything about the bill specifically.

Step 8: Ask for a copy of the company’s do not call policy

Request that the collector provide you with a copy of his organization’s do not call policy as required by the Telephone Solicitation Act.

Step 9: Send a letter requesting validation

Mail the collection agency a letter requesting validation of your bill in writing. Send your letter registered and return receipt requested so that you can prove the agency received it. You have the right to ask the agency why it thinks you owe the debt and to whom you owe it. The collection agency must provide you with the name and address of the original creditor, the creditor’s account number, and the amount you owed at the time the debt was transferred to the agency. Finally, you should request documentation that there is a valid reason for claiming that you need to pay the debt to the current creditor. As an example of this, you could ask for a copy of any written agreement that was generated as part of your original obligation to pay the bill.

Also, make sure you include the fact that you do not wish to receive any more phone calls from the collector or his organization. According to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), once the collection agency receives your letter it‘s allowed to contact you only once more – to either tell you it won’t be contacting you again or to advise you it will be taking some specific action such filing suit.

You have other important rights when dealing with debt collectors under the FDCPA as explained in this video from the Federal Trade Commission.

99% of all phone calls

If you follow this 9-step procedure, you should be able to eliminate 99% of all phone calls from debt collectors. Unfortunately, there are some collectors so unethical that not even this procedure will stop them from calling you. If this occurs, there are several actions you can take – again per the FDCPA. First, as mentioned above you can file a complaint with your state’s attorney general’s office. If you do this, be sure to include the debt collector’s specific name and phone number you should have gotten as part of Step 2. In addition, you have the right to hire an attorney to sue the collection agency. While you are limited to collecting only $1000 in damages, you can also collect for your attorney’s fees and for any other out-of-pocket expenses such as lost wages you might have suffered as a result of the harassment.

Know your state’s statute of limitations

It’s also important that you know your state’s statute of limitations. For example, in many states the statute of limitations on credit card bills is just five years and for other bills either seven or 10 years. What this means is that if a collector calls and tries to harass you for a credit card bill that’s more than five years old, the odds are that you are no longer required to pay it.

Change your phone number

If none of this works, you could consider changing your phone number. Unfortunately, given the amount of information that debt collectors can access via the Internet these days, this might give you only a short-term respite before the agency tracks you down again. Of course, if your have some form of caller ID on your phone, you will eventually learn to recognize the collector’s phone number and can just not answer the call. Do this often enough and the collector may give up.

Best Way To Deal With A Debt Collection Call

Best Way To Deal With A Debt Collection CallBeing 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.

A Debt Collection Company Is Punished For Its Behavior

Woman talking on the cell phoneHave you been harassed by a debt collection company? It’s not bad enough that you’re deeply in debt and fighting to keep your head above water, but in addition you are being bombarded with nasty phone calls – some of which can come both night and day. The debt collector may be threatening to talk with your employer, file suit or have your wages garnished.

There is some justice in this world

An article appeared recently on the website CNN Money reporting that the debt collection company Expert Global Solutions of Plano Texas had been fined $3.2 million by the Federal Trade Commission for harassing consumers. It had been found to be using abusive practices such as calling people several times a day, late at night or early in the morning, and even at their place of employment. There were actually instances where the collectors continued calling people even after they had paid their debts because they had not bothered to verify that the debts still existed.

The world’s largest

Expert Global Solutions is the world’s largest debt collection company. It has, if you can believe this, about 32,000 employees and enjoys $1.2 billion in annual revenues. According to the FTC, “the company’s debt collectors called persons repeatedly or continuously with the intent to annoy, harass or abuse.”

What to do if you’re contacted by a debt collection company

There was a classic movie some years ago where at one point the lead actor yelled, “I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell, ‘I’M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!’

The good news is that if a debt collector who has made you mad contacts you, you don’t have to take it. A few years ago our Congress passed a bill called the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. It prohibited debt collectors from using certain kinds of abusive behavior including:

• Hours for phone contact: contacting consumers by telephone outside of the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. local time
• Failure to cease communication upon request
• Causing a telephone to ring or engaging any person in telephone conversation repeatedly or continuously: with intent to annoy, abuse, or harass any person at the called number.
• Communicating with consumers at their place of employment after having been advised that this is unacceptable or prohibited by the employer
• Contacting consumer known to be represented by an attorney
• Communicating with consumer after request for validation has been made:
• Misrepresentation or deceit: misrepresenting the debt or using deception to collect the debt
• Publishing the consumer’s name or address on a “bad debt” list

Asked for verification

The first time a debt collector contacts you, make sure you request that he or she validate the debt. He must do this in the form of a letter and within five days. This letter must include the fact that you have the right to dispute the debt’s validity and that you have 30 days to do so. You can dispute the entire debt or part of it or ask for the name of the original creditor. Once the collection agency receives your letter, it cannot contact you again until it has provided you with the information you requested.

Use certified mail

If you decide to send a letter disputing the debt, be sure to send it certified and with return receipt requested. This way you will have proof that you mailed the letter and that the collection agency received it.

With the collection agency must do

When the collection agency receives your letter, it must send you proof that it either owns or has been assigned your debt by your original creditor. This verification must show that you actually owe the debt, the amount of the debt and include documentation from the original creditor. The law mandates that it is not sufficient for the agency to just send you a print out of the amount you owe.

If you do not receive verification

In the event that the collection agency does not send you the required verification within 30 days, it can no longer collect the debt from you. If it lists your debt with one of the three credit bureaus, you can dispute it with the appropriate bureau. You will need to send the bureau a copy of your debt validation letter, and copies of your certification and return receipt. This should help get that debt immediately removed from your credit report.

Upset man with hands on headStopping the harassment

You can also prevent a collection agency for from harassing you by sending it what’s called a “cease and desist letter.” (You can find samples of this letter online.) According to the FDCPA once the collection agency receives the letter it can contact you only once more – either to tell you it will no longer be contacting you or that it will be taking some specific action such as filing suit. You will need to send this letter registered and return receipt requested – again to prove that you mailed it and that the collection agency received it.

Check out this video for more information about handling calls from debt collectors including what you shouldn’t say.

“A Collection Agency Is Harassing Me Over A Debt That’s Not Mine”

Believe it or not, this happens more often than you might imagine. You answer the telephone and a collector says you owe $1,500 on a Capital One® Visa credit card from 2008 and you better pay up. But you never had a Capital One Visa credit card.Young Man talking on the phone and smiling

What probably happened

Given the fact that this supposed debt is five years old, the collection agency probably purchased it from another collection agency that had purchased it from the original lender. Then, somewhere along the way during these transactions, the debt was mistakenly assigned to you.

What you can do

If you sincerely believe the debt is not yours, there are things you will need to do. First, you should write the collection agency and ask it to document the debt. You can ask for a copy of the original contract and the date and details of the last payment. Additionally, you can ask the collection agency to prove that it really owns the debt. There are scam collection agencies that will try to collect on debts they don’t actually own so it pays to be careful.

The agency might file suit

One of the tricks played by unscrupulous collection agencies is to file suit without notifying you that it has done so. It will try to convince the court that you had received notification but chose to not show up for your court date. It would then ask for a default judgment. If it gets this, it would then be able to put a lien against one of your assets such as your house. It could even garnish your wages. If you are sued and are notified about a court date, be sure to show up. It’s vital that you be there and, again, make the agency prove the debt is really yours.

You may need an attorney

If you can’t convince the collection agency that the debt isn’t yours or if you’re sued, you may want to hire an attorney who is experienced in debt collection cases. He or she will defend you and will know if the collection agency has violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. If it turns out that this is the case, you could sue the collection agency for up to $1,000 and get your attorney’s fees paid.

Know the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

If you’re being harassed by a debt collector, whether the debt is really yours or not, it pays to know the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. For example, this act stipulates that debt collectors are not to call you at inconvenient times nor call you at work unless you have given it permission to do so. It also has information about stopping debt collectors from contacting you, and what collectors have to tell you about your debt. You can get more information about this act at and if a debt collector is harassing you, you should definitely do so.

What To expect If A Debt Collector Takes You To Court

Judge in robe sitting at bench looking serious I read a story recently where a creditor took a woman to court about credit card debt that she had incurred in 2006. It was in her name alone and not in her husband’s name. The debt collector wanted $1,500 plus costs –from a woman who was living on disability and Social Security, plus a small pension.

The good news

She was advised to immediately check the laws in her state as it’s possible that the statute of limitations had expired on the debt. She could learn this by visiting her state attorney general’s website. The statute of limitations on written contracts in most states is six years, which includes credit card debt. If this were the case, the woman’s creditor might be just getting in under the deadline. However, it would certainly be worthwhile for her to find out.

If a debt collector drags you into court

If you should be sued by a debt collector that’s the first thing you should do–check and make check out the statute of limitation on debts in your state.. If it has expired you will just need to prove in court the account’s age and that it’s no longer collectible. You will need to show the judge your paperwork on the account or documents from the collection agency with the date of the debt and the name of the original creditor.

If the debt is collectible.

If you feel that the debt is valid, it could still be worth it to appear in court. The bad news is that if the debt is valid, the judge will probably find in favor of the collector. If this happens, your day will be over as the the court will issue a judgment in favor of the collector for the amount you owed.

However, if you are present you might be able to show the judge that your financial situation was just so bad you would be termed “judgment proof.” To do this you would have to show the court proof that your financial situation was just awful. Three months’ worth of bank statements should probably be enough to make your case. You might want to contact your local legal aid society to see if you could get a pro bono (free) lawyer to help.

If the collector is awarded a judgment

If the collector is awarded a judgment, he can use it to garnish your wages, put a lien on any real property or garnish your bank account to collect the debt. Retirement benefits including Social Security are usually exempt from garnishment–if you don’t owe taxes or child support.

Your spouse might also be responsible

If you live in a community property state such as California, Arizona, Alaska, Louisiana, Nevada or Texas your spouse may also be responsible for your debt under community property laws. However this would be true only if the debt was incurred after you were married.

A better way to handle debt

A much better answer than waiting to be sued and dragged into court over your debts is to let us help. We are a debt settlement provider who can negotiate with your creditors to get your debts reduced as much as possible. We provide a 100% satisfaction guarantee as we are so confident that we can help you achieve your goal of becoming debt-free in a reasonable time, that if you are ever unsatisfied with our debt relief program you can cancel at anytime without any penalties or fees.

Don’t get dragged into court. Contact us by email, phone or live chat so we can start helping you immediately.

Can I Settle With a Debt Collector?

The financial industry is very segmented with each worker performing vastly different tasks. When you went into debt, your original creditor was probably a financial institution, bank or credit card company. Bankers are in the business of making loans. They are not in the business of recovering money from those who are having problems paying.

“Debt Purchased For Pennies on the Dollar”

Most debt collectors have purchased debt packages from the original creditors who don’t want to spend time trying to get the money back. Debt collectors purchase your debt for pennies on the dollar. They expect to only get a percentage of the debt back.

Debt collectors understand the legal process. They hope to “encourage” you to pay your bills. Lawsuits are long and expensive. They would prefer to settle with you.

Create a Financial Settlement Goal

Proactive settlement benefits all parties: creditor, debt collector and you. You don’t want to continue to be stressed out about your unpaid debt. You need to find a way out.

Assess your financial situation. What are your present payments? What do you want to accomplish with negotiations? What are you willing to surrender? What monthly payment levels can you handle?

For example, if a New York woman owes $10,000 on her credit cards and has monthly payments of $500, then what settlement goals should she consider? One, she could reduce the total debt balance below $10,000. Two, she could lower the monthly payment amount. Three, she could try to get the debt collector to remove any negative listings on her credit report.

“What is on your credit report?”

The Fair Isaac Corporation created your credit rating to help banks measure you as a credit risk. Your credit report includes your total debt balance, payment schedule, missed payments, accounts sent to debt collector and other financial information. Both the original creditor and debt collector have control over negative entries.

Debt collectors have different policies concerning settlement. These will range from demands for “payment in full” to offers to spread payments out while deleting negative lines on your credit report.

Deleting Negative Information

You have the right to dispute anything on your credit report. The credit reporting agencies must investigate any errors, mistakes or inaccurate entries. You must give a reason for any deletion.

Statute of Limitations

The debt collector has a statute of limitations for collecting the debt owed. The longest statute of limitations is for notarized documents and the shortest is for revolving credit card accounts.

When you make a payment to the debt collector, it automatically resets the statute of limitations because the partial payment “reaffirms” the debt obligation. So be very careful. Complete all agreements in writing before making any payments.

Only Sign When Completely Satisfied

Your debt probably has grown dramatically with principal, interest, penalty and collection fees added. Since most debt collectors purchased your debt for pennies on the dollar, they don’t expect to get 100% back.

Calculate your financial state of affairs. Determine what you are able to pay. Start negotiations below the amount you can pay. Figure out how payments will be made and what constitutes a breach of the agreement.

Don’t provide any bank account, employment or references. If the debt collectors have your job information, they might garnish you wages.

Get a written letter listing the new balance, payment amounts and when they are scheduled to be made. Only sign when everything is satisfactory.

Professional Debt Negotiators

Eventually, you need to face the music. Debt settlement stops the endless treadmill of debt that leads to nowhere but frustration. No one wants to file bankruptcy; debt arbitration is a real alternative. Reduce the actual balance and re-establish a sensible payment schedule.

Get professional negotiators on your side. Debt settlement is the most sensible response with both sides winning and losing. Your debt problems are not going to magically go away. Consolidate your debt into a more manageable format. Get started today with your free debt analysis.

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