If you have some old debts that have gone unpaid, you probably know what it is like dealing with debt collectors. However, what you may not know is that some collectors are going against what the law allows them to do. Harassment is not something that is within their rights, so it is important to know how to deal with them properly and how to know when they should be reported. Here are some tips for dealing with debt collectors.
Know What Debt Collectors Must Do
The first thing you should do is educate yourself on what a debt collector's role is when they contact you in an effort to settle a debt and what the law requires them to do. First of all, they are supposed to identify themselves every time they talk to and let you know they are a debt collector. They can't give you falsified information just to get you to answer the phone. If you ask for identification or more information about the debt they are calling about, and they refuse to give it, hang up the phone and don't communicate with them any further. You also have a right to request verification of the debt they claim you have.
Keep Records of All Communications
When debt collectors start contacting you, take note of all of the times they communicated with you, whether through the mail, phone, or email. All of these messages can be used if you ever decide to file a lawsuit against them, either for harassing you or for trying to settle a debt that is no longer valid. After you speak with them on the phone, take copious notes and have backups so you always have them handy. Also include the date and time of all phone calls, as these come in handy. Write down any times you believe they were harassing you or refused to give information you requested.
You Have the Right to Negotiate the Debt
Also be aware that you have the right to try and negotiate the debt with the collector. This means you can try and get them to reduce the overall amount you owe by paying a lump sum, or try to set up smaller monthly payments to get the debt paid. They should let you know you can negotiate the debt, but even if not, you should be able to request it. Not all debt can be reduced in this manner, but it is definitely worth asking the debt collector.
Know What Harassment is
If a debt collector is harassing you, you can report them, though contacting a lawyer is often a better option. They can file a claim against this person and ensure they are not allowed to contact you any further. Harassment typically include calling late in the evening or in the middle of the night, not stopping communication when you ask, or trying to track down friends and family members to get your information. They are not allowed to call you at work or show up in person to talk to you about the debt either.Share
12 August 2016
I love all of those quirky laws that are still on the law book. It's a little hobby of mine to track down some of those laws and try and work out if there was a story behind how they got on the books. I've been doing it for 14 years and have accumulated a lot of material that I have researched. I thought it would be fun to start a blog with some of these stories to share with other people who like to know a little more about law and about history. I hope you enjoy my site.