More Hints For Handling Debt Collectors
One of the most common questions we are asked, here, at Fitzgerald & Campbell, APLC is what do to when you are contacting by a debt collector? In fact, we have addressed this topic before on our blog. However, with the national debt at an all-time high and national headlines reporting on lawsuits against debt collectors who continue to file various consumer protection law, we thought it was time to provide you with a few more tips for handling debt collectors.
Dispute Your Debt In Writing
Particularly if you believe that the debt you are contacted about isn’t yours, make sure to dispute the debt in writing. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), you have thirty (30) days to dispute a debt once you are contacted by a debt collector. Even if you are unsure about whether the debt is yours, dispute it. This will force the creditor or collection company to validate your debt, and do some research into your account regarding its validity. Disputing your debt will also buy you some time. After they receive your letter, the creditor or collection agency must stop attempting to collect money from you until they respond, in writing to your dispute. When they respond, they must provide you with some proof that shows you owe the debt at issue, not a template or form letter that merely demands that you pay.
Keep Track Of The Communications
While you may not have the ability to physically record the phone conversations you have with creditors or collectors, you can keep track of them. Keep a log on the computer or on paper of the date and time when a collector calls you, what they said to you or asked for, the duration of the call and specific amount of money that they say you owe. Try to get the name of the person who contacted you, and take notes on whether they were polite, rude, or used profane/obscene language.
If you have disputed the debt in writing and have not received a written response back when a collector calls you, make sure to write this down. This constitutes a violation of the FDCPA and you may be entitled to damages for the violation.
Say Very Little
You want to say as little as possible to debt collectors when talking to them over the phone. Most debt collectors record their conversations with you, which can be used against you later if your case goes to court. Never admit that you owe the debt to a debt collector, or make guarantees that you will pay a certain amount. You should also never provide debt collectors with personal information, such as your social security number or workplace address. The less you say, the more protected you will be. As a general rule of thumb, consult with a knowledgeable consumer rights attorney—like those at Fitzgerald & Campbell, APLC—before speaking with creditors or debt collectors about an alleged debt.
If you are being harassed by a debt collector or have any other issue with creditors and third party debt buyers, you need the help of an experienced debtor rights attorney—like those at Fitzgerald & Campbell, APLC—to review your case and discuss your options with you. Our attorneys have decades of experience representing clients in all types of consumer defense cases and we are here to help you!
Call us today for a free consultation at (855) 709-5788, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.