In reality, communication with collectors is a more delicate process than it seems. There are nuances that you as a consumer may not be aware of. If you miss it, you sometimes run the risk of falling into the trap of the collectors, for example by paying the debt you don’t actually owe. This in turn drives the demand for online debt brokerage software that ensures transparency of collections for both parties. However, you still need to know your legal rights and even some tricks to become a winner even in the worst situation.
Today we gathered 8 ways to communicate with collectors. We’ve selected the most controversial situations that can occur at some point in communication, so you can easily use these tips outlined below if any of the following applies to your case.
Play over the collector! 8 effective tips for closing your debt
1. Is there a validation notice?
Before the actual moment of the first contact, a payee must send you a written confirmation stating the amount due. If you have not yet received that document, the collector has contacted you, then you may not answer their request or say that you will not reply until the notification is sent.
Once you have received the notice, you can ask them to verify it within 30 days, especially if you are unsure whether the amount of debt stated is correct. After verification, they should give you the information about the original creditor and the age of the debt. Unless you have that information, the creditor cannot take legal action regarding your debt against you.
2. Doubts? Disagreement!
Again, you can request verification within 30 days of receiving the validation message. However, if you are in doubt about the established amount of the debt or believe that you do not owe it at all, you can dispute it instead of asking for verification. Please note that if you dispute your debt, the creditor will not be able to sue you or take any other legal action against you – until your debt has been verified and explicitly confirmed to you. At the time of the dispute, the payee must notify the competent credit bureau that the account is disputed.
3. Tired of collection reminders? Then request to stop them!
Remember that under any circumstances you have the right to ask the collector to stop contacting you if you do not wish to do so. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), you can write a cancellation letter confirming that the payee can no longer contact you.
So, what are the circumstances that can make you stop and stop? For example, if you feel pressured for a debt that does not actually belong to you or if you think you do not have to pay it. However, you don’t need to explain the reasons to the collector; FDCPA allows you to request them to stop without any explanation. But keep in mind that in this case the collector only has to act legally by taking you to court.
4. Check your statute of limitations
Collectors can’t write you endlessly. They have a period of time during which they can contact you and take legal action against you. In legal terms, this is called the “Statute of Limitations” and its duration varies by state.
If the debt has passed that period, the collector can no longer sue you. In this case, you can write the cancellation letter to end their reminders.
5. No one canceled complaints
Sometimes payees may even harass you in their attempt to collect the debt, which is definitely not appropriate. If so, it’s time to file a complaint. Legally, this is possible through the CFPB.
Yet intimidation is not the only reason to file complaints. The creditor may accidentally contact you, mistake you for someone else or remind you of the debt you have already paid. In both cases, filing a complaint with the CFPB is also a solution.
6. Your health insurance covers you
Medical bills account for the majority of all debt in the US. But before you start negotiating these with the collector, make sure your insurance covers them. Instead, contact your insurance company so they can check.
The coverage issue is especially important in gap insurance cases. If you have one, you should also check that the entire procedure or at least part of it that was not covered by the primary insurance policy is covered by the gap. That is, if the insurance covers a medical bill that previously went to collections, the associated collections account can be excluded from your credit report, meaning you don’t have to wait seven years for good credit.
7. Get to the heart of your guilt; Contact the original creditor
If at some point you discover that the original creditor still owes your debt, you are under no legal obligation to speak to the creditor. It’s better that you don’t, as you can spend your time more effectively by contacting the original owner so that you can work out together how to settle the debt. This solution works for credit cards, service bills, and medical bills. However, remember that you are not responsible for any payment transactions unless the original owner approves it.
8. Get legal help to prepare for the collector’s legal action
If the collector initiates legal action against you, it is a red warning for you to hire a legal advisor. However, you cannot afford a lawyer right now, but luckily there are legal aid organizations in the US that can provide you with pro bono services.
However, you can contradict the collector; for example, you can do it in the case of harassment or violation of FDCPA when they continue to contact you regardless of the written termination, or in the event that they even scare and humiliate you.
You can ignore the collector, but you cannot ignore court orders. If the court summons you to appear, and you fail to do so, the collector wins the default judgment against you.
The last tip: don’t rush to pay
After considering all these tips that we have brought in the article, you may think that it is better and much faster to pay the collector. Sure you can do it, but make sure you do it right before paying.
First, check the debt violation letter that the creditor sent you to make sure they really own the debt. Then check your credit details; after all, you may have already paid the debt, you simply forgot. Only then should you consider your current budget to assess whether you can pay the debt in full (if indeed you still owe it), or whether you should pay in installments.
After you have made all the preparations, it is time to negotiate your debt with the creditor. However, it is better to negotiate in writing than over the phone, as written agreements are a reliable guarantee and proof of your debt obligations rather than oral agreements. This way you should receive a signed agreement and only then can you consider paying. Note that if the debt is not due from the creditor, it is the original creditor whose duty is to sign a related agreement.
Remember that closing the debt does not mean that it is immediately removed from your credit report; you have to wait another seven years from the time of the first delinquency.
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