In Part 1, we learned a few important things that debt collectors won’t tell you. Click here to see that post.
This is the second (and last) installment of things debt collectors won’t tell you or don’t want you to know. These are taken from a recent Readers Digest article by Michelle Crouch.
1. If a debt collector threatens to have you arrested, or calls before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m., you can report them to your state attorney general’s office (naag.org) or the Federal Trade Commission (ftc.gov). These are violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (fdcpa). I have clients tell me all the time that they have been threatened with jail time by collectors. ALWAYS take down the name, phone number, time, date, etc. of the call/caller (the name will likely be fake, but take down as much information as possible) and report them.
2. Don’t ask for a manager–they won’t help you. You’re better off just calling back and getting a different collector on the phone.
3. If you ask a collector not to call you at work, they must by law stop.
4. They’re not interested in your stories about why you’re unable to pay. All explanations of this nature are summed up by a simple notation on their computer: “HLS” (hard luck story). You’re simply wasting your time by going through all of that.
Take Control of Your Situation
All of these items set forth above and in Part 1 exemplify the need to be proactive in dealing not just with your debt problems, but with life in general. Don’t ever feel powerless. You always have options. Know your rights.
As far as debt collection goes, understand that these are people getting paid to scare you–scare you into paying them. However, there are federal laws restricting what they can say and how they can say it. If they cross the line, pin them against the wall.
Talk to a bankruptcy attorney to examine your options. Read up on the FDCPA and know your rights as far as what a debt collector can and cannot do. Be proactive. Learn and examine your settlement options. Seek settlement if it works best for you. Take another path if it doesn’t, but always understand the benefits and consequences of any decision. Use attorneys and other available resources to help you take control of your situation and make those tough but necessary decisions.
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