September 19, 2017
 
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Debt Collectors - Dealing with them head on

When you’re faced with the having to deal with debt collectors, it can be one of the most devastating times in your life. Constant mail, annoying phone calls, even embarrassing calls to your employer or family can really cause a lot of stress. Following these tips can help you alleviate some of the problems.
 
Know what you owe. It may sound obvious, but make sure you know the amounts owed and to whom. Mistakes can be made—you could be hounded for a debt that isn’t yours. Examine balances, interest charges, and other fees.
 
Know your rights. Debt collectors are obligated to treat you fairly and not use coercive tactics to collect the money. They must abide by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Go to www.ftc.gov for more detailed information.
 
Organize and prioritize your bills. No matter what a debt collector tells you, necessary bills, such as electricity and heating, need to be on the top of your priority list.
 
Keep the conversation simple and focused. Don’t go on with your life story and divulge other private information, like where you work or bank account numbers.
 
Assert your right to privacy. Ask for all future contact to be in writing, rather than on the phone. If you don’t want them to call anymore, tell them. 
 
Keep detailed records. Track all phone calls and correspondence. Make sure you note the agency name and the name of the person with whom you speak.
 
Don’t agree to anything you can’t afford or to something that will cause more problems. Avoid sending post-dated checks and don’t allow electronic payments from your account.
 
Get proof of any payment agreement in writing. If you come to an agreement for an amount, ask for it in writing. When you make the payment, include a letter outlining the payment agreement. 

 

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