If a debt collector calls you, do not panic and hang up. Take the calls and keep them talking to find out as many details as possible about them. Ask for debt details, the original creditor's name, the debt collection agency's name, and the caller's name. Instead of giving your personal information out, try to get as much information as possible from the debt collector. This can help you not only to assess the situation with regard to the debt, but to determine whether the collector is complying with federal law.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
(FDCPA) is a federal statute enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC
) to regulate debt collection practices. The FDCPA does not cover original creditors in this regard.
came into being to prohibit the unfair and harassing practices adopted by many third-party debt collectors. These debt collectors are overzealous when collecting debts, sometimes even seeking to collect nonexistent debts or more money than is owed, and hence resort to tactics designed to scare consumers into paying. However, consumers are protected against these tactics by the FDCPA.
It is wise to collect all information possible prior to suing these collectors for violating the FDCPA. Per the FDCPA, a debt collector can call in an attempt to collect on a debt, but he cannot call at inconvenient times, or repeatedly. According to the FDCPA, the language that a debt collector uses over the phone or in person must be decent. He must speak in accordance with the law, and may not make threats.
Some of the most frequent violations by debt collectors
are to call repeatedly and use obscene language. Since debt collectors are in a hurry to collect money and use all possible tactics to get that money. Taking careful notes and keeping track of calls, and what is said on them, can be useful in holding collectors accountable.
Recording of debt collectors' calls is allowed in 35 states and District of Columbia. If your state allows you to record calls from debt collectors, do so and keep them to use in a court of law. Moreover, whatever you communicate to debt collectors, whether on phone or in writing, keep all communication on record. Keeping a log of telephone calls along with date and time notes can prove very useful while pursuing a case.
Always insist on written acceptance from debt collectors if you have agreed on a payment plan. Try negotiating a payment plan at the end of a month when debt collectors typically are in a hurry to strike deals as their monthly commission is calculated at the end of the month. Whatever you choose to do, be wary of the many techniques that debt collectors have in their pocket to make you pay –even money you may not owe. If you are cautious, you can have the upper-hand while handling debt collectors.