Nearly one-third of all consumers will receive a debt collection call this year. It’s an unfortunate stressor that many Americans have to deal with on a daily basis. On top of rent, medical bills, and family living costs, getting a call from a debt collector can feel like the straw that broke the camels back. So, here are a few Dos and Dont’s that will help you feel more informed about how to handle the next time your debt collector calls.
Don’t Avoid Contact
It is a basic human instinct to want to avoid conflict, but running away from a debt collector could send you down a dangerous path possibly ending in bankruptcy court. To avoid that, it’s best to be upfront and open in your communication with your debt collector no matter how much money you owe them. Avoiding communication could lead to your debt collector feeling ignored, which could be grounds for them to take more aggressive action.
If you rely on a wifi connection to make your phone calls and your house is in a dead zone then the best way to make sure you have a strong wifi signal and don’t miss an important call would be to invest in a wifi amplifier. Purchasing a simple wifi device and attaching an external antenna is a small step that could help you avoid a much larger headache down the line.
Don’t Make a Payment Without a Plan
One of the most vital pieces of information to you is the statute of limitations on collections of debt. The specifics of the statute limitations vary based on your state laws, but the basic premise remains the same across all fifty states: There is a time limit on when a credit card company or debt collection agency can sue you based on your most recent monthly payments.
Many debtors will make a “good faith” payment hoping that it will increase their credit report or place them in good graces with their collectors. While this may seem like a good idea at first, it actually extends the amount of time the debt collection industry has to take legal action against you. Every new payment restarts the clock. It’s a bad idea to hide your head in the sand and avoid a debt collector, but it’s an even worse idea to blindly throw money at them before you’ve created a budget and a plan to alleviate your debt.
Do Know Your Rights
It pays to be informed. Along with the statute of limitations, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act places certain limitations on what actions debt collectors can actually take against you and what they can do with your contact information. There are also agencies set in place to protect you. These agencies include the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and most importantly the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
Learning about what limitations these agencies have placed on debt collectors as well as knowing your state’s specific statute of limitations laws give you the upper hand when talking to your debt collector.
Do Ask For Help
All of these legal terms can be an additional layer of stress on top of the original anxiety caused by debt. If you need legal advice on how to stop collection calls and your state’s statute of limitations then you should be empowered to ask for that help. Your Legal Rights Activists is a group of attorneys that offer a free consultation to anybody wanting to make their debt collector stop harassing them.
Remember that you are not the first person to go through something like this, and with the proper help and planning you can escape the debt collector calls and move on with your life.