So you owe some money. Maybe a lot of money. And now, you’re afraid to pick up the phone, take in the mail and even open the door for fear that a collector is, once again, trying to contact you.
If you are struggling with debt and you haven’t done so already, it’s time to make a plan to get out of debt and follow through with it. That’s the best way to stop third-party collection agencies in their tracks. Check out of infographic to identify the signs that you need help managing debt.
But, as you work to figure out the best solution for you, it’s also important to know the laws governing how collectors can get in touch with you. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act spells out the rules for debt collectors and prohibits harassment in the cases of debts related to car loans, credit cards, unpaid medical bills and overdue mortgages, for instance.
What’s harassment? The law sets limits on how collectors can contact you and what they can say. The law, however, applies only to third-party collection agencies. So, if you bought an appliance at a retail store and haven’t paid the bill, the owner of that store doesn’t have to comply with these rules.
If you are contacted by a collector, don’t get mad, just get their information. Tell them that you are recording the phone conversation. Be sure to get all of their information, including their name, address, phone number and professional license number.
You can even refuse to talk about any debt until they send you a written “validation notice,” according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. It’s critical that you never disclose any personal or financial information until you’ve verified that they really are a debt collector. Fraudsters posing as debt collectors often attempt to scam people.
The best way to handle debt collectors is to know your rights, get the relevant information and push forward on plans to improve your financial health so you never have to be afraid to pick up the phone or answer the door again.
Consumer Education Services, Inc. (CESI) is a non-profit service provider of comprehensive personal financial education and solutions for all life stages and for all of life’s milestones. Our goal is enhanced economic security for everyone we serve.
CESI is NOT A LOAN COMPANY