5 Ways to Deal with Debt Collection Agencies
A debt collection agency is a company that works on behalf of a lender to collect a debt that has been unpaid. This might include hospital bills, credit card bills, loan payments or something similar. Often times, debt collection agencies are threatening, insistent and often engage in harassing behavior in order to pressure individuals into paying the full amount of the debt.
Of course, if you do pay the debt to the debt collection agency, they keep a percentage of the money in return for having collected the debt for the lender. There are also debt collection agencies that buy old debts and try to collect the full payment. Some of these debts are no longer even on the individual’s credit report when the agencies try to collect. These agencies are often known for their hostile behavior. Here are some tips on how to deal with insistent debt collection agencies.
1. Phone Calls
You have to be extremely careful when you speak to debt collection agencies on the telephone. Sometimes they contact you with debts that are ages and ages old, or ones that don’t even belong to you. However, if you become confused and acknowledge the debt on the telephone with them, you could make yourself responsible for said debt. It’s not advisable to speak to debt collection agencies on the telephone. Even if you know which debt they are talking about, let them know that you are not familiar with it and ask them if they could send you proof of the bill and further information on it.
2. Get the Name of the Collection Agency
Another very important tip is to get the debt collection agency’s name. This will allow you to research it and find further information on the company and their practices. There are many debt collection agencies that are notorious for scamming individuals into paying old debts or debts that don’t belong to them, as well as using questionable behavior in order to make people pay those debts.
One very popular debt collection agency, NCO Financial, has even been accused of claiming that individuals were about to be arrested unless they sent full payment immediately. This is completely not true, of course – you can’t be arrested for not paying a debt to a collection agency. Do your research before paying them anything.
3. Debt Validation
If a collection agency contacts you about a debt you truly don’t recognize, do not send them any payments. You have the right to demand ‘debt validation,’ which means that the company must show you proof that the debt belongs to you. They will have to send you something through the mail that documents the debt as yours. Of course, if they cannot prove that the debt belongs to you – in most places you are not required to pay it. Also, if there is no proof that the debt is yours and it’s on your credit report, you can get it removed.
4. Fair Treatment
The Federal Trade Commission insists that individuals are treated fairly by debt collectors. Just a few of the laws that protect people demand that debt collection agencies do not harass individuals – this includes calling them at work, making threats or continuing to call after the individual has requested to be left alone. Find out what laws apply to you and what actions you can take if you are harassed or treated unfairly by debt collection agencies.
5. Cease and Desist Letters
If a debt collection agency continues to harass you, call you after you’ve asked them to stop or make threats – send them a cease and desist letter. This is basically an official letter that requests that the debt collection agency stop harassing you. When you write this letter, keep documentation of it and fax it to the company so you will have a copy. Another thing you can do is send it certified mail so you receive a receipt when someone at the company signs for it. If after this letter is received by them, you continue to be harassed, you may need to take legal action to protect yourself.
Debt collection agencies can be very insistent and often times use methods that are unfair and considered illegal. Use these five tips to help you deal with them in the proper methods.