Creditors hire people or companies to help them get payments from people who owe money but haven’t paid. If you haven’t paid your bills and debt collectors have contacted you, you may feel overwhelmed, scared, and confused about what’s going on and what you can do. You do have choices, and it’s important to know what they are and what steps to take.
First of all, keep in mind that debt collectors can’t bother, threaten, or lie to you. They have to follow the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which keeps creditors from bothering you in certain ways. This means that they can’t call outside of the hours of 8am and 9pm local time, use bad language, or try to act like they’re lawyers or government workers.
Second, you should know that debt collectors can get in touch with you by mail, phone, or email, but they can’t bother or abuse you. So remember that they have every right to get in touch with you, as long as they don’t violate your rights.
Lastly, don’t agree to anything you can’t pay for, and don’t pay anything until you’ve seen the terms written down. This is important even if the person trying to collect the debt is nice. Remember that the debt collector’s job is to get you to pay, so if he or she is too nice, it could be a sign that you’re being taken advantage of.
If you know what your rights are, you can talk to debt collectors and handle the situation with more confidence.
When Dealing with Debt Collectors, You Should Know Your Rights
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act tells people what their rights are when it comes to debt collection. This law says what collectors can do when they try to get in touch with you. If you know its rules and let a debt collector know you do, you may be able to stop unfair or deceptive tactics and limit the damage to your credit score.
- The FDCPA says that debt collectors can’t threaten you, use bad language, or lie to you. For example, they can’t say they’ll sue you when they don’t plan to.
- They can’t also add fees or interest to your debt unless it is part of the original agreement or allowed by state law.
- They should not take your stuff or make threats to do so unless it is collateral on a secured debt.
- The debt collectors have to tell you in writing either electronically or on paper within five days of their first conversation with you about the debt they are trying to collect and what you can do to dispute it.
- They should give you 30 days from the time you receive their notice to ask for more information about the debt or to dispute the amount they are trying to collect.
- They should not tell the national credit bureaus about a collection account during that 30-day notice period. They also can’t report a disputed collection account. This is important because not paying collection accounts that show up on your credit report can hurt your credit score.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) added new rules to the FDCPA in November 2021. These rules limit how and how often debt collectors can contact you:
- They can’t call you more than seven times about the same debt in one week. If the same agent is trying to collect more than one debt, each debt has its own set of rules.
- After talking to you about a particular debt, they can’t call you again for a week.
- Collectors can contact you on social media, but they can only do so through private messages. When they do this, they have to tell you that they are debt collectors and give you the option to “opt out” of getting more messages from them on that platform.
- The above limits apply to live communications from people who are trying to collect a debt. They don’t cover what are called “limited content messages,” which are automated voicemails, texts, or emails that say the name of the debt collection company without saying that they are debt collectors and ask for a call back at a certain number.
What You Need to Know About Collection Agencies
Having to deal with debt collectors can be stressful and hard to figure out. Even if a collection agency tries to scare you with words or actions, you should never be afraid to stand up for your rights. Here are some tips for dealing with debt collectors and collection agencies:
Get more information: Make sure you know about the FDCPA. This will help you understand what rights you have when it comes to debt collectors.
Verify credibility: Ask the debt collector or agency to confirm the debt. You should make sure that the debt is real and that the amount they want is correct.
Don’t agree to anything. Don’t sign anything before talking to an attorney, and don’t pay anything without getting all the terms in writing.
Be nice: Stay calm and nice even if the debt collector is being rude. Keeping your cool can go a long way toward helping you find a solution to the problem.
Know where you stand: Know when you can pay your debts and when you can’t, and stick to your budget.
When dealing with collections, you can protect yourself and act with confidence if you know what your rights are and are ready for what might happen.
Why You Need Professional Help When Dealing with Debt Collectors
When you have to deal with debt collectors, it can be hard to understand, scary, and stressful. Working with a debt settlement company or credit counselor can help you figure out how to handle debt collection in the best way.
When thinking about a debt settlement company, pay close attention to how much they charge and what services they offer. Make sure the company has a good name and will explain how to pay off the debt. Also, before you sign a contract, make sure you know what the pros and cons of debt settlement are.
If you decide to work with a credit counselor, you should find out if the organization is legitimate. Be aware that credit counselors often get paid on commission, which means that their advice may not always be the best. Also, make sure you are happy with how the counselor works and how much they charge before you sign a contract or agreement.
Lastly, remember that a debt settlement company or credit counselor can help you make a plan for dealing with creditors and debt, but they can’t stop debt collectors from calling you or get bad things off your credit report.
When dealing with debt collectors, it can be very helpful to have a professional by your side to help you negotiate and find possible solutions.
Making payments isn’t always easy, and it can be even harder if debt collectors or collection agencies keep calling you. It’s important to know your rights and the best way to deal with debt collectors if you want to have the best chance of getting your debts paid off.
Keep your cool and be polite, but never agree to a payment plan before talking to an attorney or credit counselor. When dealing with debt collectors, it’s important to know what to do. This can help you pay off your debt faster and could even help your credit score.
Q: If a debt collector calls me, what are my rights?
A: The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) keeps creditors from bothering you in certain ways. This means they can’t call outside of 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. local time, use bad language, or try to sound like lawyers or government workers.
Q: What should I never do when dealing with people who want to get money from me?
A: Never agree to something you can’t pay for, and don’t pay anything until you’ve seen the terms in writing.
Q: What do credit counselors and companies that settle debts do to help people deal with debt collectors?
A: A debt settlement company or a credit counselor can help you figure out how to handle debt collection in the best way. But they can’t stop debt collectors from calling you or get bad things taken off your credit report.