How To Deal With Debt Collectors

by William Blake

Repeated phone calls and letters from debt collectors can be stressful. But there are ways to protect yourself and cope with the pressure.

Regulations have been established by the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act that stipulate how far debt collectors are permitted to go in their efforts to collect on debts. For example, there are only permitted to call between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m., and they are not allowed to make idle threats of action that cannot legally be taken. If you instruct them not to call you they cannot continue calling.

This presents you with choices. You can choose to screen your calls, allowing the answering machine to pick up, or use caller id to preview your callers and decide if you’d rather not accept the call.

If you decide to talk you can request that they not continue calling you. If you enforce this request by sending a “cease and desist” letter it is illegal for the collectors to continue to contact you. This can be a costly legal act, so it may be better to explore other options before resorting to this.

If at all possible, the most effective way to deal with debt collectors is to pay your debt. After all you did make the debt and your creditor has a right to payment. If you are struggling to meeting the full payment try to negotiate a rate reduction.

If you make a payment arrangement, stick to it. Debt collectors only have a desire to perform the service for which they have been employed. If you show that you are going to stick with your payment arrangement they will stop calling you.

It is important to keep good record of all calls received and agreements made. If you have instructed a debt collector to stop calling you, make note of that, especially if they are calling your place of employment. If it is legal where you live you could record calls. However research this because you may be required to inform the caller that the conversation is being recorded.

If you inform the debt collector that you are recording the conversation, most will be very careful not to overstep their bounds. If you are trying to negotiate a debt reduction these recordings can be very helpful.

Remember that debt collectors receive their payment based on a percentage of whatever they are able to collect. Therefore, though they may be authorized to accept less than they are demanding, they want you to pay as close to the full amount as possible. If you are persistent they will reduce the amount. They realize that a part of the whole is better than nothing at all.

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