Debt collectors make their living harassing you for money owed to creditors. Often paid a portion of what is collected on the creditor’s behalf, your debt settlement does literally go towards paying their salary. While you may be tempted into giving in, here is what you need to know about dealing with credit collections:
You have rights to direct negotiation – debt collectors will often tell you that you must go through them to resolve your unpaid debts. This is misleading. Although your creditor may have turned over your account to their company, that doesn’t mean that you can’t resolve your debts directly with your creditor. Always contact your creditor directly to negotiate ways to repay your debts directly, rather than making a payment to a third party collector.
You have rights to appropriate collections – the Federal Trade Commission has outlined rules that debt collectors are supposed to follow when attempting to collect on a debt. However, there are plenty of instances in which collectors do not adhere to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Luckily, you can file a complaint with the FTC for violations such as:
- Misrepresenting who they are or which creditor they are working for
- Falsifying information about the debt, amount to be owed, or the status of your account
- Contact you outside of the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.
- Make repeated phone calls or collection attempts
- Make threats of violence or legal actions for nonpayment
You have rights to halt collections – there are a few ways you can terminate contact from collectors. You can resolve the debt, preferably with your creditor directly. Dispute the debt with the collector by requesting written verification of the debt, to which they cannot contact you until this letter is received. Filing for bankruptcy can put an immediate halt to collections. However, it is important that you seek the counsel of a St. Petersburg bankruptcy lawyer before deciding how to proceed against collectors.