How to Deal With Debt Collection Harassment
About 37% of consumers contacted by debt collectors confirmed that the creditor contacts them at least four times each week. Another 17% reported that the debt collectors have tried to reach them more than eight times every week. Multiple calls from a collector is one of the practices characterizing debt collection harassment. (Image Credits: Yanalya/Freepik)
Some debt collectors go to the extent of threatening consumers, using profane language, humiliating, or calling a borrower’s contact. If a debt collection agency is harassing you, you can make it stop.
Here are the steps to take to stop debt collection harassment.
Know Your Rights
When dealing with debt collectors, it’s good to know what they can and cannot do. If you’re ignorant about your rights, you could end up entertaining infringements to your constitutional privileges. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act stipulates how creditors and debt collectors should approach collecting their dues.
Collectors shouldn’t call you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. You should also not receive any communication from tax collectors on a Sunday. The law further prohibits debt collectors from abusive, profane, or obscene language when collecting a debt from you.
A debt collector should further not threaten you with a lawsuit. The law also proscribes any attempt by debt collectors to add extra fees to your debt. A credit report lawyer is always on hand to help you enforce your legal rights when dealing with creditors.
Insist on Debt Validation
When dealing with debt collectors, you can’t rule out the possibility of engaging with unscrupulous individuals. Some debt collectors are notorious for running illegal debt collection syndicates. Before engaging any perceived debt collection agent, always insist on debt validation.
The rise in the cases where debt collectors collect debts that are way past the statute of limitations confirms a surge in fraud. It will help to insist on debt validation if you encountered any form of debt collection harassment from suspicious individuals. A debt collector should validate the debt owed through writing.
It would be best if you further insisted on specific information on the exact amount of debt owed. A written validation should also include the name of the original creditor. You have a thirty-day window to dispute any information presented through the validation notice.
Don’t Get Chatty With Debt Collectors
Your communication with debt collectors should remain formal and to the point. It would be best to keep you guard on whenever speaking to any debt collection agent. Anything said during such communication can work against you.
Seasoned debt collectors can entice you into delicate diverging information. Never verify your employer’s details or any other evidence that could put you in trouble.
You should stick to the basics and let your validation letter respond to any other matter. Attorneys for debt collection harassment can help you draw the line on how far is too far.
Hang up If Need Be
A conversation with a debt collector should remain formal and respectful. However, such discussions can turn heated, and at times emotions may flare. When you encounter such scenarios that border on debt collection harassment, you have the liberty to hang up.
Although you might have defaulted, you still have a right to file a complaint. Discontinuing a verbal engagement that has since gone south is well within your rights. Nonetheless, resist the temptation of using abusive language, even when irritated.
Keep Records for Proof
Debt collectors will often contact you via phone calls, postal mail, text messages, or email. It is vital to keep all the correspondence, statements, and documentation.
Ensure that you have the collector’s details such as name, number, and employer for your records. Note down your interaction. The details you collect will be essential when you decide to file a suit or make a complaint.
The collection agency typically records phone calls when calling a consumer. You might also want to record the conversation for future reference. Federal law allows you to record a call conversation even without the other party’s consent in some states.
Write the Collector a Cease Letter
Did you know that 45 million Americans have at least 1.7 trillion in student loan debt? If you want to stop loan debt collection harassment, you might want to write a cease letter to avert the constant calls and threatening messages. A cease letter, also known as the desist letter, is a formal request to a debt collector to stop contacting you.
You can choose to write a cease letter if creditors are bordering more on debt collection harassment. The collector will then have to consider other less invasive approaches to debt collection. Often, the creditor will have no option but to sue you in a civil court.
You must keep one copy of the written request. Some debt collectors might continue contacting you even after receiving your cease letter. At this point, you might want to consider attorneys for debt collection harassment.
Deal With Debt Collection Harassment Before It Starts
If you’ve not cleared your debt, the creditor will look for ways to coerce you into paying. You can talk to your creditor before your case is forwarded to a collection agency. Call the creditor to explain why you’ve been unable to pay and give clear repayment plans.
Avoid over-promising during negotiations. The creditor will use your words against you when calling to ask for the repayment. While at it, have a plan in place to ensure that your credit score isn’t affected.
Debt Collection Harassment Has Become Prevalent
Millions of Americans owe creditors. If you’re part of this statistic, you’ve probably been a victim of debt collection harassment. From humiliation to intimidating phone calls, harassment can take different forms.
Fortunately, the law protects you against debt collection agency harassment. You might want to talk to a lawyer to walk with you if a debt collector is becoming a nuisance. While at it, work towards honoring the repayment plan to address the issue in finality.
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