Are you being contacted by debt collection agencies? Just because a debt collector says you owe a debt, this doesn’t mean you have to pay them, especially if you never opened the account you owe money for. The statute of limitations for your state might also have expired, which gives them less leverage.
These tips will help you deal with debt collectors:
Tip #1 - There are rules debt collectors have to follow.
❖ They cannot harass you.
❖ They must state that they are debt collectors.
❖ They cannot call before 8 A.M. or after 9 P.M.
❖ You can request that a collector stop contacting you by sending them a letter with your request. Pay for a return receipt to ensure they received it.
Tip #2 - Ask for written validation that you owe the debt.
❖ This document should show how much you owe and where the debt comes from. Debt collectors are legally required to notify you in writing and you should request this notice if you haven’t received it yet.
❖ Do not volunteer any information besides what a debt collector already has.
“All you need is the plan, the roadmap, and the courage to push on to your destination.” – Earl Nightingale
Tip #3 - Respond to the validation.
❖ Once you receive a validation notice with details on the debt, you have a month to respond and prove that you don’t owe this amount.
❖ The debt collector cannot contact you again, unless they have proof that you owe the debt, such as a bill.
Tip #4 - Stand up for your rights
❖ If a collection agency violates your rights, your best option is to contact your state’s Attorney General Office, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to report them.
Tip #5 - Negotiate.
❖ You can usually negotiate with debt collectors. Tell them how much you would like to settle for.
❖ Collection agencies usually pay pennies on the dollar to purchase a debt and will settle for a lot less than what you owe.