7 Ways to Stop Harassment from Debt Collectors
Have you ever found yourself on the receiving end of a phone call from a debt collector? It can prove to be a stressful and nerve-racking experience.
Sometimes debt collection agencies don’t understand when enough is enough and keep trying to squeeze money from a rock. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, then consider the following seven ways to get your phone to stop ringing off the hook with collection agencies.
1. Do your research.
Even before you get your first call from a debt collection agency, they already know all about you. Most of them will check your credit reports or employment history to see what your situation is. Don’t let them get the drop on you! Research any debt collector that calls you by asking for their name, phone number, and address on the first call. The Better Business Bureau or other resources are likely to have some valuable information so that you can at least make sure you aren’t being scammed.
2. Be pro-active
If you’re the one who makes the first call about your account owed then you’re more in control of the situation. People who take the initiative are less likely to feel overwhelmed and can do what needs to be done in a more efficient manner. A clear head can work wonders on stress.
3. Ask the collector to validate a debt
This is especially important if you feel like the debt is not one you owe or the debt is too old. Asking a company to validate your debt can also buy you some valuable research time. If you feel like something about your debt is off, consider hiring a debt harassment lawyer in order to review the company’s policies and keep your suffering to a minimum.
4. Speak with an attorney
A debt collector wants you to feel like you have only one option – to pay them. But often, there are many ways to deal with bad debt. Talking with a Clearwater debt attorney can help inform you as to all of your legal options, which may include negotiating with the debt collector, defending the debt collection lawsuit, bankruptcy, and in some cases, suing the debt collector. If you find yourself overwhelmed by what you owe, you can even call an attorney in Clearwater to manage your debt.
5. Stay professional
Whenever speaking with a debt collection agency, be sure to keep your tone professional and business-like. Even if you feel guilty or embarrassed, don’t let a collection agency use that to take advantage of you. Keep calm, and above all else, do not panic when you’re contacted. Keeping a level head means you’ll be working in your own best interests.
6. Tell them to stop calling you
Believe it or not, you as a debtor do still have rights. You can ask a collection agency to stop calling you, and under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (FCCPA), the debt collector is required to honor your request. Most debt collectors have you on an automated dialing list, so if you send them either a fax or other written document requesting that they stop calling you, you may be surprised to find they will. The debt collector still has the right to sue you, but just by eliminating the harassing phone calls, you can eliminate a lot of the frustration of debt collection. If a debt collector continues to contact you after you have asked them to stop, call a debt collection harassment attorney, who may be able to recover damages from the debt collector for the improper collection efforts.
7. Only take a deal that you can afford
If a debt collector offers you a deal or a payment plan, it can be tempting to accept their deal just so the debt collector doesn’t bother you anymore. But if you can’t afford the deal that you agree to, then you may just be delaying the inevitable, and you could be making your problem worse. Make sure that any arrangement you enter into with a debt collector is something that you can genuinely afford. Also, make sure you get your deal in writing. Debt collectors try to encourage you to reach a deal over the phone and just send in the payment, but if the debt collector doesn’t stay true to the deal, it is difficult to enforce the agreement if you don’t have it in writing. Finally, I would highly recommend that you review any written deal with an attorney. There are so many subtleties that can go into a settlement agreement that you may not think of – legal implications, credit impact, tax liability, the release of a remaining balance, and your protection from other debt collectors just to name a few of the considerations in an agreement. These issues can be very technical, and it pays to have a professional review the agreement.