Credit is a very powerful tool, but debt can become a monster. If you are reading this article, you likely discovered it researching how to deal with debt collector harassment. These deliberate, pestering attacks can come in many forms. When a debt collector intentionally annoys, abuses, or threatens, it can cause stress and anxiety.
That said, both credit and bankruptcy laws have the power to protect you from debt collectors who are abusive. A financial hardship is stressful enough. Moreover, debt collectors know their legal limits when attempting to collect a debt. There is simply no excuse for crossing the line. Today, we are sharing some tips to deal with debt collector.
Dealing with a Debt Collector
- Request Information in Writing – A debt collector has 5 days to send you all pertinent debt information after their initial contact. This will include the name of the creditor, the balance owed, and how to dispute charges if something is wrong.
- If You Don’t Owe It, Make Your Dispute in Writing – Send all dispute letters certified, keep copies of all correspondence. If you dispute a charge within 30 days, they must validate the debt or stop collections.
- Create a Journal of All Phone Calls – Track the day and time of every phone call, and document the conversation. If you ever go to court, having a complete file will work in your favor.
- Keep Your Answers Short and Simple – During a phone call, debt collectors try to collect as much information as they can. Ultimately, they want to know if you have the ability to pay. But they are also trying to discover your triggers.
- Try to Negotiate – If your account is with a debt collector, there is a good chance you can negotiate a settlement. Ask them what they will accept. If they start at 10 or 15 percent, you may be able to get them to 20 or 30 percent.
- Only Send a Postal Money Order or Cashier’s Check – Whether making a payment plan or settlement, get the agreement in writing. Once you have that, never send a check or make a phone payment. You do not want them to have access to your bank account.
Debt collector harassment is one of the top reasons for filing bankruptcy. If you would like to talk about how to deal with debt collector harassment, or a related topic, please contact us.