In the year 2013 over 200,000 complaints were filed with Federal Trade Commission’s against debt collectors. This high number of complaints indicates that debt collectors rarely follow the rules when collecting debts. Beware of the following before you decide to deal with a debt collector.
Who is a debt collector?
A debt collector is an agent who collects debts from debtors on behalf of banks and businesses. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) requires debt collectors to practice within their limits.
What time does the collector call you?
Many complaints have been filed with the Federal Trade Commissions about collectors calling outside the stipulated time. Debt collectors should only call their debtors within the allowed time of the day. Calling outside the allowed times is a violation of the FDCPA, and necessary action should be taken up on them.
Should I stop the collector from calling?
As a debtor you can stop the collector from calling you anytime, you feel so. Although you can make a request over the phone, this is not enough. Write to them “cease and desist” letters asking them to stop contacting you. If several collectors are calling you, make sure you send them separate letters.
Do I owe the debt?
Take your time to confirm whether the debts are truly yours. After all, nobody can trust debt collectors they are known to collect wrong debts from wrong individuals. So request for debt validation to proof that the debt is indeed yours.
Make sure you send the validation request as soon as you’re contacted because this process is only executable within 30 days. If the collectors cannot validate the debt, then they have no right to collect the debt from you.
Has the statute of limitations expired?
The state provides the amount of time within which a collector can legally sue you for unpaid debt. After the statute of limitations has expired, the collector cannot sue you for the debt. Despite this, a debtor may still try to sue you, and if this happens proof that the statute of limitations has expired for you to be dismissed.
Are my rights violated?
Debt collectors should not intimidate debtors or ask them to pay more than they owe. If any of your rights have been violated, you can sue the collector for damages of up to $1000.
Should I pay the debt?
No matter whether the statute of limitations has expired paying back your debt is always the right thing you can do. But still, you can decide to forget it and move on if the debt is old enough.
How about my credit report?
Some collectors may include the collection in your credit report, and this can affect your credit score negatively. You can agree with your collector not to include the collection in your credit score. However, make sure the agreement is documented so that you can force the collector to honor the deal to the end.
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