In today’s economy, even the most hard-working individuals can slide into debt. Many Americans struggle with their personal finances. A recent study revealed that over 35% of Americans have debt that has been reported to a collection agency. This means unending phone calls, emails, and letters in the mail asking for payment. It is often stressful, and sometimes overwhelming. What are you to do when the phone calls don’t stop? If a collection agency is harassing you and your family, you do have rights.
First and foremost, remain calm. This is a situation that many other people have been in before. When a debt collector calls, they’re effectively assessing your ability to pay. They may try to coerce you into agreeing to the debt or something you shouldn’t. Keep the first call short and professional.
By law, collection agencies are required to send you a written notice of the debt you owe them within five days of contacting you. Wait to speak with them until after you receive this letter.
Ask for Proof
Once you’ve received written notice, contact the debt collector. If you intend to dispute the debt due to an error or otherwise, send a letter by certified mail. Notify each of the prominent credit bureaus by mail, explaining any error and include all documentation you’ve received thus far.
If, after sending the necessary paperwork, the phone calls continue, speak with an attorney. You’ll want someone on your side who has experience dealing with these individuals. Furthermore, you’ll want to report the agency to the FTC for debt collection harassment.
Resist any scare tactics the agency is trying. They cannot call before 8 am or after 9 pm, at work, claim to be an attorney or threaten legal action without intent to.