If you have a forgotten or unpaid bill that has gone to collection, don’t worry. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act offers you many rights when dealing with debt collectors. Listed below are six important tips to know when a third-party debt collector contacts you.
Get all the important information in writing – As per the law, within five days after contacting you a debt collector must send you a hard copy of a notice stating the creditor’s name, the amount owed and what to do if that owed amount is wrong or not owed at all. If you are in a debt settlement program, you should immediately send the letter to your debt relief contact.
So first things first, you should ask the debt collector to forward you all the details in writing.
In case you don’t owe the money, open a written debt dispute – If you succeed in sending the collection agency a written letter within 30 days after you have received the written notice, you will not be contacted by a debt collector again. Make sure to keep a letter copy as part of the debt documentation.
Furthermore, a good tip is always to send your letter via certified mail to the debt collector or else they might dispute even receiving it.
Keep a record with all the notes from messages and phone conversations along with copies of every written communication you ever had with the debt collector. Make it a point to write down the correct date and time of each collection call, the amount owed (as stated in summary), the agency’s name, and a list of conversations you’ve had with the collector.
Remember that there are some limitations – When it comes to debt collection calls, debt collectors are forbidden to do or say a number of things by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act which include:
1. Using obscene or abusive language
2. Annoying you with repetitive calls
3. Mistaking your amount owed
4. Threatening to sue you unless they really plan to
5. Wrongly claiming to be a lawyer, a credit department representative, or a law execution official
6. Speaking to anyone but you or your lawyer regarding your debt
7. Ringing you at work even after you asked them not to
8. Ringing you after 9:00 pm or before 8:00 am unless you agreed to it.
9. Throwing hollow threats about garnishing wages or seizing property unless they really plan on doing it
Stand your ground and don’t give away too much information – If you were ever to receive a call by a collector, you should say very little and try to cut the conversation as short as you can. You always want to make sure that you aren’t being targeted or become the next victim a debt collection scam.