Finance Globe

U.S. financial and economic topics from several finance writers.
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4 Tips for Handing Debt Collector Calls


When one of your accounts falls past due, your creditor may sell the account to a third-party debt collector. The debt collector then has the right to pursue you for payment. Of course, one of the ways debt collectors attempt to get you to pay is by calling you. These calls can be a nuisance, especially when you can’t afford to pay. Knowing how to handle debt collector calls can keep you in control of the process and avoid being taken advantage of.

Don’t admit to owing the debt. Admitting to the debt may give the debt collector additional time to take legal action against you for the debt. Plus, there’s no way to be sure the debt is yours and the collector has the right to collect it, until you’ve seen proof. You can request proof of the debt by writing to the debt collector and asking that they validate the debt is yours.

Talk on your time. If you’re going to talk to a debt collector, it needs to be at a time that’s convenient to you - and you have the right to request that they call you at a more convenient time. Discussing payment on an outstanding debt balance needs your undivided attention.

Write down everything you discuss. Debt collectors will inform you that the information you give will be used to collect the debt. Your call might also be monitored for “quality assurance.” That means the debt collector has a thorough records of what you've discussed if there's ever a question or doubt about your conversation. You should keep your own notes about your contact with a debt collector so you have a record to refer to in the event of a dispute.

You can stop calls from debt collectors by writing to them and asking that they no longer contact you. This cease and desist letter only applies to third-party debt collectors. It doesn’t apply to your original creditor. Once the collector receives your cease and desist letter, they’re only allowed to contact you one more time. That final communication is to let you know what they plan to do next, if they plan to do anything at all.

No matter what happens in the call with a debt collector, it’s important to stay calm and clear-headed. Debt collectors aren’t allowed to harrass you or use profanity so keep records if they do. You’re not obligated to speak to a debt collector over the phone. If you find it’s difficult to negotiate by phone, you communicate in writing only or hire an attorney to speak with the debt collector on your behalf.

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Comments 1

Frank on Thursday, 19 July 2018 15:52

I usually recommend to not speak to them. I recommend seeking out counsel to help you deal with your debt and debt collectors.

I usually recommend to not speak to them. I recommend seeking out counsel to help you deal with your debt and debt collectors.
Wednesday, 22 May 2024

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