Moon Twp, PA (PressExposure) June 12, 2009 -- You may get a call from a debt collector if you are late on your credit card payment, if you have not paid your mortgage or car payment, or if you have other loans or bills that are in default. Debt collectors can be aggressive and even hostile in attempting to collect money you owe. They may even make threats to scare you into paying them before you pay your other obligations. Do not let them bully you. Instead, know your rights. With the information below, you will learn how to deal with debt collectors and how to begin taking charge of past-due bills on your own terms, once and for all! Given below are some suggestions to deal with debt collection:
a) When contacted first by the debt collection agencies, the first step you should take is communicating with your original creditor. Check whether the account is sold and also see whether there is any possibilities of negotiating with the original creditor and work out a reasonable payment arrangement.
b) If the account has been already sold to the third party collection agencies and the original creditor can't do much about it then in that case you have to deal with the collection agencies. The first thing you have to remember while dealing with debt collectors is to get educated about your rights. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has many publications particularly designed to educate consumers about their rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Harassing and nuisance phone calls, threats and abusive language are illegal and should be reported to the FTC and your state attorney general's office. Find your state attorney general through the National Association of Attorneys General.
c) Don't ignore notices or phone calls from the collection agencies. Once you get the first written notice from a debt collector send the collector written requests for validation of debt within 30 days. If the debt is not yours then it is advisable that you immediately send the collection agency a debt validation letter; do not delay the matter as debt collectors can place negative information on your credit report.
d) Locate a reputable consumer lawyer. If the collection agency serves you with a notice of a lawsuit, then find an attorney who is proficient in consumer law so that he can represent you in court. Most of the debt collectors are themselves unaware of the laws. You might even get served with a notice for a debt that is past statute of limitations. In such a case if you do not appear in court to challenge the sufficiency of the evidence, then the debt collector wins. Thus, it is said that chances of getting the lawsuit dismissed in court may be greater if the concerned individual shows up in court and is represented by an attorney.
e) Maintain copies of letters, notices and other records. Keep important documents especially the proof of settlement or resolution of debts. It is important because if ever a question arises regarding the debt or the amount then you will have enough evidence with you. Once you have decided on hiring a collection agency for your credit collection, dealing with a collection agency has four different stages: