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May 2016

Things a Debt Collection Agency Must Tell You

Things a Debt Collection Agency Must Tell YouWhen you’re deep in debt, it’s not easy to climb your way out. It’s a challenging situation that gets even more stressful when the creditors want their money back and debt collectors get involved. Just the thought of having to open the mailbox or the sound of the phone ringing can be nerve wracking. So it’s worth knowing your rights and that there are certain things a debt collection agency must tell you.

Written Notice
A debt collector is not permitted to just call and tell you that you owe a debt. They must provide written notice within five days of contacting you. The letter must set out the amount of money you owe, the name of the creditor and any relevant details.

Right to Challenge
The debt collection agency must also explain the process you should follow if you believe you do not own the debt. You have the right to challenge the validity of the debt so long as you do so within 30 days of receiving the written notice.

Stop Calling
Debt collectors have to stop contacting you if you send a letter asking them to do so. However, it’s also important to remember that a legitimate debt will not go away simply because the phone calls stop.

Know What You Owe
Regularly keeping track of your debts via a credit report can help if you are ever contacted by a debt collector. You can get your credit report free from a reporting agency, unless you need it quickly. It’s a good way to help you spot any fake debt collectors but it can also help you face the issues and come up with a plan to address them before the debt collectors come knocking.

How to Deal with Fake Debt Collectors

How to Deal with Fake Debt CollectorsWarnings are being issued to consumers to watch for persistent scammers who attempt to collect debts that don’t even exist.

When an unfamiliar voice on the phone informs you that you owe hundreds of dollars on an unpaid debt, a debt you don’t even recall having, what do you do? How do you know if the call is legitimate?

Anyone can fall victim to calls from fake debt collectors because the scammers are often very convincing. If you haven’t been doing a good job of keeping track of your debts, you could become easy prey.

Here are some tips on how you can protect yourself.

Know Your Rights
Whatever they tell you, tell them you’ll wait for the letter – but don’t give them your address. Debt collection agencies must send a written letter outlining the details of the debt and if they’re legitimate they’ll have your address on file.

You should also know that debt collectors are not permitted to use abusive, unfair, or deceptive practices when attempting to collect your debt.

Ask Questions
If someone calls you claiming to be from a debt collection agency, ask them for the name, address, and phone number of the company they’re calling from, or the contact details of the debtor they’re trying to reach.

A legitimate debt collector will be happy to provide you with this information whereas phony collectors may avoid giving an answer.

Keep Track of Your Debts
If you receive written notice of a debt, order your own credit report so that you can see whether the debt appears on your file. If you don’t recognise the debt, you must respond in a letter stating that you are not the owner of the debt.

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