If a creditor doesn’t think that you are going to pay off an outstanding balance, it may be sold to a debt collector. Debt collectors can generally take the same steps as the original creditor to get what they are entitled to. However, there are ways to put an end to constant phone calls or at least take the sting out of any interactions that you do have with them.
Don’t Try to Duck Them
It is important that you don’t try to avoid a debt collector as it can only make your problem worse. If you can’t be reached at home, the new owner of your debt may attempt to call at work or reach out to your relatives in an attempt to find you. In some cases, failing to address an outstanding debt balance could result in a lawsuit, and failing to appear in court could result in an automatic judgment in the debt collector’s favor. That may give a person or company the ability to seize your bank account or garnish your wages.
Know Your Rights
There are many myths about debt collectors which can make it hard to know your legal rights. However, it is important to know that you have legal protection against debt collector harassment. For instance, someone trying to obtain a past due balance cannot threaten to have you arrested or to file a lawsuit against you unless there is a plan to do so. Furthermore, you cannot be contacted about a debt before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. without your permission. Finally, you have the right to verify that the debt is yours, and you must be given the name of the original creditor and the balance that is allegedly owed.
Keep a Record of All Interactions
A debt collector cannot say or do anything to threaten or harass you. For instance, someone who is trying to collect a debt cannot insinuate that he or she is going to call the police if the balance isn’t paid off immediately. In most cases, you have the right to record any phone calls that you receive from a debt collection company. It is also a good idea to have a witness present who can verify your claims.
While debt collectors have a right to pursue any money that they are owed, it is important to know that there are limits to what they can do. Following these tips can help you to handle the situation more effectively and less stressfully. If your rights are violated, it may be a good idea to talk to an attorney or notify any creditor watchdog groups in your state.
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