There are plenty of things debt collectors can do to collect money owed to them, but there are also limitations. Aggressive debt collection is controlled by the law and if a debt collector oversteps his or her boundaries, there are actions you can take. Even if a debt is legitimate and you are behind on payments and/or unable to pay, there is only so much a collector is allowed to do.
If you are facing aggressive debt collection, what are your options?
Don’t Ignore Attempts to Contact You
It’s tempting to ignore calls and notifications about a debt, but that’s not helping your cause. You are better off discussing the debt and learning about your options. You might be able to arrange a settlement or payment plan. Communicating with debt collectors also allows you to gain insight into their intentions and if they are abusive, their behavior can work in your favor.
Before discussing the debt in detail, verify you are speaking with a professional debt collector by asking questions and taking note of the information provided. Never give personal information, such as your social security number, date of birth, or any other identifying information, over the phone. It’s easy for criminals to pose as debt collectors and threaten you in an attempt to trick you into revealing information.
Do Not Make Payments over the Phone
In addition to not providing personal information over the phone, it’s also important to not make payments over the phone if possible. Some debt collectors will try to pressure you into paying while they have you on the line, but doing so can be risky. A reasonable debt collector will understand your security concerns and provide an alternate method of payment.
It is within your rights to tell a debt collector that you do not want to be contacted by phone, and instead provide an email or physical address for contact. This ensures any discussions with the debt collector will be in writing and it gives you access to written verification a debt collector is actually who they claim to be.
Repeated debt collection calls after you have stated you do not want to be contacted by phone violate the law and you can report a collector to the FTC if they continue to call you after you have told them to stop. You can view more information about the FTC’s regulations on debt collection at their website.
Explore Your Options
One of the most important things you can do regarding a debt is to know your options. Once you know how to take control of the debt, you can proceed with confidence to the next step. You should never let a debt collector bully you or threaten you. If you feel you are being threatened, end the conversation and contact an attorney familiar with debt collection laws.
Finally, take careful notes about every interaction you have with a debt collector. Even if you are given a message that your conversations are recorded, you need your own detailed proof that conversations occurred and arrangements were made.
If you are facing aggressive actions by debt collectors, you need to take action. Bankruptcy might be the best option for ending the abuse, but it is not the only way. If you would like to learn more about what debt collectors can and cannot do, contact the Law Offices of Robert M. Geller at 813.254.5696 to discuss your situation and find out how we can help you.