Tips to Handling a Debt Collector

What is a debt collector?

A debt collector is someone who collects past due debt that is owed to a creditor. Debt collectors don't always have the best reputation and if you possess debt, it can be rather easy to for your debt to fall into the hands of a debt collector.

If you have a debt heading towards to collections consider finding creative ways to resolve the account with the creditor. Ask if they would be willing to lower your monthly payment or lower the interest rate. If your debt is still with the original creditor, you can also seek out credit counseling, which are usually non-profit organizations that consolidate your bills into a monthly payment plan. Lastly, debt settlement is another route. Like credit counseling, debt settlement allows you to pay down debt in a monthly payment and resolve your debt for less than what was owed as well as repair your credit status. Be sure to carefully research any company willing to work with you to resolve your debts for reliability, trustworthiness and that they are professionals licensed to work in the State that you live.

However, if you do have debt in collections, it is possible to work with debt collectors in a professional and productive manner. Here are tips to get your account resolved with a collection agency for when a debt is in collections.

Make sure debt is actually yours - Check your credit report from each of the 3 credit bureaus to see if the debt the collector is claiming to be yours is in fact, yours. The Federal Trade Commission reports that 1 in 20 consumers have errors in their reports and 24% of those mistakes people reported were about debt that was not theirs. Ask the debt collector for verification of debt.

Know your rights - The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act states that debt collectors cannot use abusive or obscene language, call before 8 am or after 9 pm, or talk to a third party about your debt. In addition, they must respect your request to not call you at work, if you have indicated that.

Don't be afraid to negotiate - Collection agencies will often pressure you to pay all your debt at once. Explain to them what you can afford to pay and ask to settle for that amount. If you are able to strike an agreement, make sure you get confirmation in writing before you make your payments to avoid potential miscommunication. This can be tricky though so you may want to seek help.

There are multiple options to reducing and eliminating the amount of debt you have. While it is stressful to have debt as well as pay it off in a timely manner, it is possible to pay down your debt in reasonable way if you take the right steps. Do your best to put yourself in the best position emotionally and financially to pay it off on your terms!

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