The amount of complaints regarding debt collectors and agencies is evidently rising. From 13,950 reported to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in 2000, the amount has inflated to beyond 66,000 in 2005. Keep in mind that these are only the reported ones–most complaints go unreported; nevertheless this is not the worst. Imagine this: most of these complaints are people who don’t even owe debt!
So what the hell is going on? These debt collection agencies are turning into vicious competitors in an move to increase their bottom line–to accomplish this, they’re putting increasing on you, the consumer.
How can you avoid being caught in the debt collector’s sniper range? Reinforce your rights. Believe it or not, you’re rights as a consumer are protected under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA.) It essentially means that you can’t be deceived, punished, or harassed when a debt collector is demonizing you for its cash. You can wage serious judicial enforcement using these rights, seriously, try it out when you get the chance! If they blatantly violate your rights as amended in the FDCPA, you can take them to court for damages and for the attorney’s fees.
When approached by debt collectors, avoid the following four devastating mistakes:
1. Know your rights, and very well! Even though you haven’t paid the debt for whatever reason, keep in mind that you’ve still got your rights. There aren’t anymore these debtor’s dungeons where they throw you in until your debts are paid, and they simply can’t grab some license from wherever and reinforce your payment just because you’re delinquent. Make sure you know what your rights are, not knowing them is truly the biggest #1 mistakes you can make when dealing with debt collectors, they can really take advantage of you if you don’t know what your rights are. Do you know what your rights are? If not, do some research.
2. No Thorough Record-Keeping. Another step to this process is filing information and hard evidence. Once you understand the extent of your rights, a set of irrefutable evidence can be real handy. So what evidence should you collect? Firstly, you’ll need:
- Phone logs (the frequency of calls and when they occur can both equally become FDCPA violations)
- Notes from their calls (what they say to you may be abusive, harassing or a deceptive);
- Letters they send to you (they must provide you with non-confusing, straight-up information about your options)
- Letters you send to them (All of these must be kept for you to better make your case).
3. Responding Too Late. Violations of your rights are tied to the timeframe of their violation, which means that if you don’t report your violated rights immediately, they are inadmissible (you can’t refer back to those moments in cases any further). Being vigilant is the key: when responding a suit, make sure you do it in a very timely manner
4. Avoiding the calls. Do not be afraid to pick up the phone. It’s only by negotiating with the debt collector will any of your rights be adequately exercised. For example, if you simply exercise your right for verification with them, it might make the problem go away (If the collector can’t verify the “debt”, they’ve got nothing to collect). Just pick up the phone, you can have the upper hand!
It pays to be smart when dealing with debt collectors, so avoid making these three mistakes:
5. Not negotiating. Debt collection agencies will frequently buy the debt. Keep in mind they’ll buy it for much less than you owe on it. This means that they profit from getting you to pay more (and probably a lot more) than they’ll end up paying. So if you practise some negotiation and deal with them that way, you might just get it much lower!
6. Ignoring the debt. Ignoring your debt is only going to double your problems. If you don’t acknowledge the debt and the debt collector’s efforts trying to communicate with you go to waste, then that debt collector will probably file a lawsuit and take you to court anyway–that only gives the debt collector the advantage. If you want the upper-hand, know your debt and realize it.
7. Paying through your personal cheque. Paying with a personal cheque provides your debt collector all your account information, such as your account number and your bank’s name. Some of these debt collectors might pull a fast one, scrupulously streaming your money into their pockets (don’t even bother if that’s possible, it’s already been proven) . This is NOT a good thing, obviously. Make it tough for them, they don’t need to know anything about your accounts
If you encounter some serious debt issues from these evil debt collectors, compile proper and irrefutable information. With it, you’ll be able to enforce your rights even better and they’ll be intimidated. Do what you can, now that you know. Good luck!
The amount of complaints regarding debt collectors and agencies is evidently rising. From 13,950 reported to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in 2000, the amount has inflated to beyond66,000 in 2005. Keep in mind that these are only the reported ones–most complaints go unreported; nevertheless this is not the worst. Imagine this: most of these complaints are people who don’t even owe debt!
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