Debt collection calls can be intimidating, overwhelming, and often catch you off guard. Since you may not be prepared for these calls, you can easily make promises you cannot fulfill or get into agreements that can worsen the situation.
If you are in any kind of debt, it is best to know what to do when you get a call from a debt collector. Here are some tips on how to manage debt collection calls better.
Know Your Rights
Though debt collectors have a right to call and follow up on debts, there are limits to what they can or cannot do. According to The federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), debt collectors cannot use abuse or obscene language. Additionally, they cannot threaten you into paying.
The act also limits where and when a collector can contact you and prohibits them from discussing your debt with other people, including your friends and family members. Knowing your rights will help you know how to manage calls and if your rights have been violated.
Get Enough Time to Talk
You can decide whether or not you are ready to talk to a debt collector. If you are too busy and cannot record or write down key information about the collector, you can politely ask them to call you at a better time.
Suppose you want the debt collector to stop calling you completely, get their details and consult a lawyer about sending them a cease and desist letter. This will give you time to consider your repayment options or how to handle the debt, such as considering a debt relief program.
Have a Pen and Paper
Debt collectors take note of everything you say during the call. It is crucial that you do the same. What you write will come in handy in case of a lawsuit.
Some of the basic information you should write down include:
- Date and time of the call
- Debt collector’s name
- Name and address of the collection agency
- The amount you allegedly owe
- Name of the original creditor
- Everything you discuss during the call
If a collector uses any abusive language, you should also take note of the language used. These records are crucial in case of a dispute or when settling a debt. When talking to a collector, be careful not to give information about your credit report.
Remember, debt collectors will use the information you give to collect the debt. Therefore, always be keen about what you say.
Get More Information About the Debt
If you are unsure how much you owe, ask the collector to send you more information about the debt. Give the collector your address or mailing information and get full details about the debt before responding to the collector’s requests.
Knowing more about the debt will ensure that you don’t say the wrong thing or something that reaffirms the debt. Note that a debt collection call acts as negotiation or interrogation. You are innocent until the collector can prove you are guilty.
This means you do not have to make any payments or agree to a payment arrangement until you can confirm that the debt is yours.
Have a Plan
After the call, you need to know the next step to take. You can dispute the debt, send a cease and desist letter, make a settlement offer, get into a debt relief program or declare bankruptcy.
However, do not make any hasty decisions. Remember, a phone call is only a reminder of debt and the beginning of your journey to a debt-free life. You still have time to consider your options.
These tips will help you know how to manage debt collection calls and ensure you do not get into agreements that you cannot keep. When you get a call from a collector, remember to stay calm and remember your rights.