Hundreds of thousands of consumers are contacted by debt collectors regarding delinquent debts every single day. Receiving these calls and notices can cause a great deal of stress. In fact, one could list dealing with debt collection activities right along with public speaking as one of the worst experiences. While it is possible to avoid speaking in front of people, avoiding a debt collector isn’t a good idea. However, there are certain ways to go about dealing with collection agencies. Read Part 1 of this series to find out how consumer law works and can help you fight debt collectors who use illegal practices. Read Part 2 to learn the laws and how to find out if a debt collector is breaking them. The following are detailed approaches to several situations you may find yourself in.
If You’re Not Sure a Violation Has Happened
If you are not sure a violation has happened, this would be your next step: (Keep in mind you are still filling the letters and keeping a record of the calls). Do not call or answer a phone call from a Debt Collector. However, you must correspond. To do this, simply write a letter to them. It is referred to as a Cease and Desist letter. In the letter, you will be basically saying you refuse to pay the debt. You need not go into a great deal of other verbiage.
Once they have received your letter, they are not legally allowed to contact you; to do so is a violation of state statute, either by phone or mail. But they will. They will be irritated by your blunt letter and will make a point of calling you or writing you again.
As soon as that happens, they have broken the law. You may now initiate your law suit and when they are contacted by the attorney representing you, they will simply say “How much?” They will then settle with your attorney right then on the phone. There will be no court session or any need for you to defend yourself in anyway. The Debt Collector knows they are caught red-handed and will not pursue the debt any further. They go away and you will probably see a cash award for your efforts as well, as mentioned earlier.
When You’re Not Sure Who the Debt Collector Is
What if the Debt Collector hasn’t identified himself in the phone call and you are not sure who to write to? This is the only case when you will speak with the collector. You will call them back or take the call when they contact you. The purpose for this correspondence is ONLY to determine the company’s name and address.
You will not get into a long winded conversation or begin answering questions from a Debt Collector. You ask the questions. In fact, when they first take your call, you probably will get all the information you need—the company name. Because when they take your call, they probably will announce who they are. Politely hang up and Google their name. In this manner you will probably get their address and can now write your Cease and Desist letter mentioned earlier.
However, if they answer with; “Your account number please?” or something like that, (without identifying themselves) you simply respond with, “I’m sorry who did I call?” Now when they identify their company name, you simply and politely hang up. Now you have their name and can proceed as above.
Winning the Fight Against Collection Calls and Letters
We do not maintain the view that debts should be left unpaid. If it is possible to pay a debt, one should by all means pay it. However, it does not follow that we are obligated to give money to a debt collection company that employs illegal and deceitful methods.
If there are legal means available to us to make unscrupulous debt collection companies abide by state and federal laws, and then by all means we have the right to take full advantage of them, have the debt expunged from our credit report and possibly get a cash award as well.
If you believe your rights may have been violated we encourage you to contact us. The consumer-rights attorney that we use gets paid directly from the defendant (collection agency) and will not charge you for this service.
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