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Don’t Be Intimidated By Debt Collectors
First, it’s important to remember that sometimes it’s just easier to get the situation over with. Ignoring debt collection efforts can reduce your options for relieving any outstanding balances. Transparency is always a good rule of thumb. Be sure to answer calls or initiate the conversation on your own if you receive information in writing. Honesty can go a long way in this situation, and collectors will be more willing to help if they know you are being honest.
The next step is to get all of the information in writing. Debt collectors are obligated to send you written information within five days of speaking with you over the phone. Make sure you have any initial bills along with the claims the creditor is currently making. This will be the easiest way to inform yourself of legalities.
If you feel like any information is incorrect, don’t be afraid to dispute the accusation. Start by writing the company and acknowledging their claim along with why you believe the claim is false. Feel free to check up with a phone call if you don’t receive any contact in the weeks after you send the letter.
If you find no errors in your balance information, you can proceed with paying the claim or try to negotiate with the creditors. That said, debt negotiation can be a tricky process, and often one better navigated by an debt management company that has pre-existing relationships banks and creditors. Learn more about how this process works on our debt management page.
Make sure to keep records of each interaction with your debt collectors. Keep copies of written forms and a ledger of phone conversations in an organized file, so it will be easy to resort back to any information needed in the future.
Be in Control
It’s important to remember that debt collectors have restrictions when it comes to interacting with you. They must follow specific guidelines under the Fair Credit Report Act that protects your individual privacy, and they aren’t, under any circumstances, permitted to use any form of harassment during contact with you or your personal information. Remember to handle yourself in a calm manner and stick to the facts when dealing with collection companies. Remember, you aren’t inferior to them. If you find yourself in a situation that makes you uncomfortable, report the incident to the Federal Trade Commission or give our counselors a call for more information.
Handling debt collectors can be a scary thought. It’s helpful to educate yourself on your rights and options when it comes to resolving financial obligations. For more information, visit our debt collection page to learn more tips for dealing with creditors.