We all come to a point in our lives when we are unable to repay a loan and have to deal with debt collectors. Yes, they are annoying, bothersome, and trying to get your money. They always call when you are having a relaxing meal or at an important meeting, and your phone keeps ringing.
We at MoneyZap are here to explain how to deal with debt collectors. At the end of the day, they just want their money whether you have it or not. No matter how much we try to keep up with all our expenses, sometimes things get out of our hands. And while we try to earn some money, the loan defaults and goes to a collector’s agency.
Debts That Can Go to Collections
Any outstanding debt you fail to pay can be sold or assigned to a collection agency, a third party that will try to get the money as fast as they can from you. The most common debts that go to a collection agency are the following:
- Credit cards
- Car loans
- Medical or hospital bills
- Mortgage payments
- Student loans
In most cases, you will receive a letter informing you that your bill is now in collections.
Debt Collectors – What They Can and Can’t Do
Someone calling you to take your money is a scary situation for anyone, which is what debt collectors hope for. They will use all their means to get the money. Here is what they can do:
- Contact you from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
- Call, text, email, or send you direct messages on your social media accounts.
- Talk to your family members to find out your phone number or how to get in touch with you.
- File a lawsuit against you; it is extremely important you show up in court to avoid automatically losing your case.
- Try to get money from an old debt past the statute of limitations.
- Charge interest but not on top of the interest that you already pay.
Now that you know all the legal means for the collectors to make you pay your debt, let’s take a look at what they cannot do:
- Lie or hide how much you really owe.
- Tag you publicly on social media and expose your debt.
- Keep calling you after you’ve asked them to stop by writing a certified letter.
- Garnish your wages without going to court (unless it is a student loan or IRS debt).
- Talk to anyone more than once to shame you.
- Harass or threaten you with foul language or jail time.
If a debt collector does any of the above, you can hire a lawyer to send them a certified letter asking them to stop contacting you.
How To Get Out of Paying Your Debt?
You can not get out without paying your debt to the collector’s agency. You will have to pay it eventually, but knowing how to deal with a debt collector will help you in the long run. Also, you can negotiate with them to go through the process of paying smoothly. You can even negotiate a payment plan. This is how you can protect yourself:
- Do not give them any money until you receive the full amount you owe them in writing.
- Keep everything in writing, even a copy in your email of how much money you owe.
- Do not give them electronic access to your account because they will withdraw as much money as possible.
- When you pay, send them a money order or cashier’s check.
Note that there are a lot of scam agencies that will try to get some money from you. This is one way people can steal your identity and your money. If you have a defaulted loan, contact the original creditor and ask them about the agencies authorized to collect the money on their behalf. Furthermore, avoid giving any personal information without knowing who you are talking to first.
If you think you are dealing with a scam agency, you can report them to the Federal Trade Commission and your Attorney General’s office. Also, you can do the following to make sure they are not scam agencies:
- Ask for their name and address.
- If they mention a debt you are not aware of, ask them to send you a letter with account numbers and details listed.
Although there is no way that you can avoid paying your debt to a collection agency, we hope these pointers can help you deal with debt collectors in the best way possible. As we all know, debt collectors often break the rules to get their money, so keep note of how they are treating you and take action against them if you are being harassed.
While it is not easy to deal with debt collectors, taking the proper steps can help you avoid a lot of headaches.