Debt collectors and collection agencies know that if they can collect on your debt, they will be able to keep the money. There is no judge or jury deciding whether your debt is valid or not, it’s just a matter of settling for what you owe. The best defense against a collection agency is to understand their tactics so you can defend yourself and protect yourself from the collectors who take advantage of people in difficult situations. Here are some things to know about dealing with debt collectors.
The first thing you want to do is stay calm. The very first thing a debt collector wants you to do is raise your voice or get upset with them. Raising your voice will put you on the defensive, making you more likely to agree with the collector that you owe them money and leaving it open for them to take advantage of that opportunity. Collectors rely on people panicking and agreeing with them without thinking it through during repaying loan, so don’t give them what they’re after; keep yourself under control and think clearly.
Don’t Face the Collectors Alone:
Before you make the call to a debt collector, gather as much information about your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act as possible. You may want to have someone with you when you call, or set up an appointment to meet with a debt collector in person so someone else can be present when you talk about this. Having someone else to stand up for your rights and knowing what your rights are under federal law will help protect your legal position if needed. If you’re dealing with a bill that isn’t yours, having someone else there can also help keep it from getting out of control.
Be Honest and Keep Records:
You have the right to dispute any debts. You can disagree with the amount of your debt, and you have the right to dispute the legitimacy of your debts. However, there are strict limitations on what you can say to a debt collector. If you ask for proof that your debt is legitimate and you’re told that your account is being sent to collections because it’s out of order or in default, don’t tell a collector that you think it’s in good standing or you do not owe the old amount that they say. You should also be sure to keep records since they can be used against you in court if necessary.
Don’t Give a Debt Collector a Confirmed Address:
You can refuse to give your address to a debt collector, and they are also barred from using or disclosing your address or phone number except to confirm the location of property owned by you. This can make it harder for them to contact you, but they only need one way in order to reach you and there’s no way around giving them an address at some point. If you want to avoid debt collectors at all costs, do not give them a confirmed address. You can also receive mail elsewhere and use that as your contact information, though be sure that it is the most up-to-date information possible in case a debt collector finds out your home address and sends mail directly there.