Most of us hit rough patches in our financial lives every once in a while. Sometimes, this means we get into debt, and if you can’t pay what you owe, you may be contacted by a debt collector. It is critical that you avoid this as much as possible, but also that you are aware of your options.
How to Avoid Debt Collectors
The best way to avoid debt collectors is to not get into debt at all. Easier said than done, however, so you may want to look into some payday loan consolidation companies, particularly if you have payday loan debt. Do be aware, however, that a consolidation option does still mean that you have to pay your debt. In fact, that never changes, unless the debt wasn’t yours to begin with.
If you have poor finances, you do still have options. First of all, you have to understand that you are covered by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission. All debt collectors, collection agencies, and debt lawyers have to adhere to the FDCPA. It also covers all household, family, and personal debts, including mortgages, medical bills, car finance, credit cards, and so on. However, business debt is not covered.
Debt collectors often come across as very intimidating. However, they are only allowed to contact you between 8 am and 9 pm, unless you stated otherwise. They also can’t contact you at work if you told them not to. Whenever they contact you, be that by text message, email, letter, or phone, they must also identify as debt collectors.
You should, whenever possible, engage in conversation with debt collectors to try and resolve the issue. If, however, they will not listen, then you can tell them in writing to stop contacting you. Do ask for a ‘return receipt’ so you can always prove that you sent it. The collector may break this no contact order if:
- They want to tell you that they will cease further contact.
- They want to tell you a different form of legal action will be taken to you.
Debt collectors may never contact anyone else but you about your debt unless you have a representing attorney.
For a collection to be valid, you must have received a ‘validation notice’, which shows what you owe and who you owe it to, as well as what to do to next. If you contest the debt, you must do so within 30 days of receiving your validation notice. If the agent then has new verification of you having debt, they can start contacting you again.
Debt collectors may never:
- Engage in harassment.
- Make false statements.
- Threaten you with criminal legal action.
- Share your information with others.
- Lie about their identity.
- Engage in unfair practices.
If you have multiple debts with a single collector, you can indicate which debt you want your payments to go to, and in which amounts. This is important if, for instance, you want to contest just one of the two debts.