At one point or another, all of may be confronted with the challenge of debt repayment. In some cases, because of unexpected circumstances such as losing a job, an illness, divorce, or injuries, people find themselves in financial crisis.
Thus, despite their best efforts to pay their creditors, certain changes can make repayment more difficult than it used to. After a while, a lender may assign a debt collection agency to take over your account.
Experiences show that some debt collectors exceed their boundaries and resort to illegal tactics or unfair debt collection strategies just to force a borrower to pay. If you’re dealing with an abusive debt collector, what can you do? How can you get debt collectors off your back?
Know Your Rights. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act clearly stipulates your rights as a borrower. All consumers deserve to be treated with dignity and respect regardless of how much money they owe their lender. Harassment, threats and violations of privacy should never be tolerated. Under the Federal Law, you can report an offensive debt collector to your State Attorney General’s Office and file a complaint to the FTC.
Who’s your debt collector?
Before making any attempt to collect repayment, a legitimate debt collection agency must first send the borrower an advanced notice. This letter should include the name of the original creditor that the agency represents, the details about the debt, and the complete list of the FDCPA provisions. This way, the borrower would know what to do in case of a violation. If you didn’t receive any letter from your debt collector, you have the right to demand for it.
Dispute incorrect charges.
If the charges are not accurate, you have the right to dispute them. Under the law, you can send a dispute letter to the debt collection agency within 60 days upon receiving their notice. Remember to send your dispute letter via registered post mail and keep all records of your communication with your debt collector (return receipt, mails, phone calls, receipts, etc). The debt collection agency must immediately begin its investigation regarding your dispute. During this period, it should stop all its collection activities with the complainant.
Tell your debt collector to stop.
You can send a letter to your debt collection agency requesting them to stop all their collection activities. However, bear in mind that this doesn’t release you from your repayment obligations. If you fail to pay off your debts, a debt collector can pursue legal action against you.
You can also try to negotiate a repayment deal with your debt collector. Some agencies won’t accept partial payments and in this case you may go for a debt settlement. Debt settlement would mean slashing off your original debts from 30% to 50% or more. However, it would require a lump sum payment. Once a negotiation has been reached and your debts have been paid, check your credit report to see if the charges have been cleared.