For the majority, their experiences have led them here seeking hope and a way out of the harassment. Yes, if you owe a debt, they have the right to collect that debt but at what cost? That is a big if !. If the debt is charged off by the original creditor and shows up "charged off" on your credit report you do not owe the debt collector one penny. Many consumers' have suffered health and emotional problems after dealing with the likes of some debt collectors who find pure pleasure in the chase and consumer intimidation of collecting a debt.
Most of These Debt Collectors are Third Party Debt Collectors
Most of these debt collectors are not internal debt collectors at banks or loan companies but third party debt collectors working for collection agencies. It's their job to get results and it's a tough job. A collector at a bank or loan company works for salary and does not live on commission. Their job descriptions are broad and involve customer service. A debt collector at a collection agency is hired for that specific job. Their pay is based on quota and they make commission for what they collect. If you don't hit your commissions then you are not affective.
There is a lot of fraud and numerous debts that people simply do not pay when they could. The debt collector deals with these types of "credit criminals" daily and develops tough skin. You must know the difference! You can spot a real dead beat from the second you have contact with them. They have absolutely no intent to pay their debts and bounce checks all over town. Nonetheless, the law is the law and last time I checked, we no longer have debtors' prison. (Well, except if you do not pay your federal taxes.
Bad debts are sent to collections and land on your credit report without you ever even being billed. For those circumstances and people who have been or are being severely pursued or harassed, there is hope. First off, lets face the fact that the debt collector is prepared when he calls you. Are you? Probably not. Once you learn the basics of dealing with debt collectors you will make your life much easier. Now for those of you who repeatedly don't pay your bills and constantly incur new ones, Get Help! You are making your own problems, and we really can't help you. we don't recommend that anyone take advantage of the system and many do. The advice here on these pages is for people who are abused everyday by debt collectors, collection agency staff and the like.
Just Because a Debt Collector Says You Owe a Debt Means Nothing!
Understanding that first and foremost is important. So many people are fearful of the conflict of a debt collector that they simply pay to get rid of them without even verifying if the debt is valid. Under that great little law, The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act are all the rules for debt collectors to follow. One of your many rights is that you have the right to dispute the validity of a debt. This can mean anything from interest being charged, fees and penalties and original balance. If a debt has been sold and resold how are you to be sure that you owe anything? You ask. Simple as that. The first time you get a notice from a debt collector or a phone call, advise them that you want the debt validated. You have an absolute right to do so. If you have ever looked, you will even see on the actual notice from the collection agency, the following mini Miranda:
"This is an attempt to collect a debt. Any information will be used for that purpose. If you dispute the validity of this debt you have 30 days to notify us of such"
If you do not answer, the debt collector can assume the debt to be valid. You MUST answer!
This little quote is telling you that you have an absolute right to question the debt. In doing so you should ask the collection agency to send you copies of the contract, original documents from the original creditor, last payments posted and all fees and penalties added on. Guess what? If they can't then they have failed to verify the debts accuracy (that means that the debt cannot be validated), you may not owe the debt or have to deal with it being reported to your credit. If they bought a valid debt they should have valid documentation from the source who sold it. Period.
Additional Rights You Have are the Rights to Refuse Their Correspondence
It is illegal for them to call you at work, or at home or have your mailbox flooded with dunning notices. If a debt collector is bothering you simply send them a certified letter called a cease and desist letter. In the letter tell them you do not wish to be contacted any further by mail or phone. They must abide by your request. If they do not, you can hold them liable under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Any third party debt collector or collection attorney is under the guise of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Only an employee of the original creditor whose occupation within that company is to collect debts is exempt.
Once you put them on such notice then they can only contact you one last time to tell you that they are planning to sue you. If this happens you have to use common sense and weigh the facts before panicking. Is the debt large enough to consider suit? Well, if it is under $500.00, probably not. Collectors love to threaten to get payment but that too is a violation. They can not threaten to sue a person if they had no intention of following through. If the debt is large enough to sue you then make sure you look at the statute of limitations for the debt.
If the Statute of Limitations has expired then legally you are not obligated to pay that debt. If they did sue you, all you would have to do is show up and tell the presiding Judge that the Statute of Limitations is expired. Another factor to consider is where the creditor is located and if they have offices near you. Do you think a debt collector is going to fly to your state to sue you? Probably not. They may have offices near you and that needs to be considered or they may sell the debt to a collection agency near you. Again, all this is neither here nor there if they do nothing.
You Have The Right to Negotiate the Debt
A debt collector wants to be paid. They are paid and rated by how they collect. If they are having a very slow month and you offer to settle an otherwise uncollectible debt, you may get your way. You have to consider timing. Debt collectors are more inclined to agree to settle towards the end of the month.
If you get an agreement from a debt collector-GET it in WRITING! I cannot stress this enough. Never ever take their word for it, Get all the facts on paper before you agree to anything. If a debt collector tells you they will rate the debt as settled rather than paid charge off and they will accept 50% as full satisfaction then why would they have a problem putting that in writing? Because they have no intention of following through! Once you pay a debt collector there is no negotiation to do. You have given them exactly what they wanted. Are they licensed and bonded if required by their state? You'd be surprised.
Check this complete listing of collection agencies license and bond information by state. CLICK HERE
Remember This; Consumer Protection Laws Protect "You The Consumer"
-You cannot be harassed
-They cannot tell third parties about the debt.
-They cannot call you after 9PM or before 8AM
-They cannot threaten you or use scare tactics
-They cannot legally sue you for an expired debt
-They cannot contact you once you put them on notice not to
-They must be able to verify and validate of the debt
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
People fail to meet their credit obligations for a variety of reasons. These range from over-extension of finances to unemployment and illness. Whatever the reason, every person is protected by the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Congress passed this act to protect consumers from harassment by debt collectors. Personal, family, and household debts are covered under the act. This includes money owed for the purchase of an automobile, for medical care, or for credit card and charge accounts.
Limitations on Contacting the Consumer
A debt collector may only contact a person between the hours of 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. Debt collectors may not contact the consumer at his job if the debt collector is aware that the employer prohibits personal calls. A person may notify a debt collector in writing if he or she does not want any further contact with the collector. Once this notice has been received, the debt collector must stop all communications, except to notify the person that a specific action will be taken.
Can Debt Collectors Tell Someone Else About Your Debt?
No! A debt collector can discuss your debt only with your attorney, a credit bureau, the creditor, and the creditor's lawyer. However, the debt collector can contact other people to find out where the debtor lives or works.
What Debt Collection Practices are Forbidden?
Debt collectors may not harass, intimidate, threaten, or embarrass you. Debt collectors may not make false or misleading statements, such as falsely associating themselves with a government office or credit bureau. They may not use misleading or false threats of imprisonment or criminal charges.
What to do if a Debt Collector Violates the Act?
Keep detailed records of any communication you have with the debt collector. Include time, date, and the name of the person with whom you spoke. Keep a copy of all written correspondence between you and the debt collector. Also, if a debt collection agency order your credit reports before they have validated the debt then they may have violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
Debt Collection Practices: Sec. 1692(d). - Harassment or Abuse
A debt collector may not engage in any conduct the natural consequence of which is to harass, oppress, or abuse any person in connection with the collection of a debt. Without limiting the general application of the foregoing, the following conduct is a violation of this section:
(1) The use or threat of use of violence or other criminal means to harm the physical person, reputation, or property of any person.
(2) The use of obscene or profane language or language the natural consequence of which is to abuse the hearer or reader.
(3) The publication of a list of consumers who allegedly refuse to pay debts, except to a consumer reporting agency or to persons meeting the requirements of section 1681a(f) or 1681b(3)  of this title.
(4) The advertisement for sale of any debt to coerce payment of the debt.
(5) 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.
(6) Except as provided in section 1692b of this title, the placement of telephone calls without meaningful disclosure of the caller's identity.
If you do not answer debt collections letters, the debt collector and the courts can and will assume the debt to be valid. If the debt collector gets a judgment against you; YOU LOSE! Your wages will be garnished and you may have a lien placed on your property. You MUST protect your rights before the debt collector gets an arbitration award and the case goes to court!
We have developed very powerful letters to answer those letters from debt collectors that will protect your rights in a court of law.
For More information or to contact a Debt Collector Defense Specialist CLICK HERE.
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For More information or to contact a Debt Collector Defense Specialist CLICK HERE.
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