For some consumers, every time the phone rings, they cringe at the possibility of a debt collector being on the other end. Falling behind on payments isn’t uncommon, but it’s a slippery slope when it comes to late fees and additional interest that begins to pile up. Once the request for money reaches the hands of a debt collector, there is no doubt that panic has set in. Here are several tips for dealing with debt collection agencies and their representatives.
Be Aware of What You Owe
Take the time to assess your financial situation, and learn more about what you owe. It might help to write down the various agencies and the amounts that are due. This ensures that you go into any conversation fully informed of what debt you need to address. If debt comes up that is not on your list, take a closer look. It could be the result of something like identity theft. According to Forbes, you can bring these issues to the credit bureau to have them taken care of.
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
In addition to knowing what you owe, you also need to know that you have rights as a consumer. Time magazine points out that the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act keep you from being cursed at, contacted in the middle of the night, or contacted at work if you have already asked them to stop. If any of these things are happening, you have the ability to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission as well as the Attorney General of your state.
It is Possible to Negotiate a Payment Plan or Settlement
In some cases, it is possible to work with the debt collection agency to reach some type of settlement or a payment plan that allows you to pay back the debt in a way that you can afford to do so. This usually involves lots of conversations with representatives of the company, so it is important to keep documentation of the name of the person you spoke with and what was discussed.
Some companies will allow you to make payments on your debt in order to take care of it. If you want to get rid of the debt and get it off your credit report as soon as possible, consider talking to them about settling the debt. Whether a company will agree to a settlement often centers on the amount of the debt and how long it has been outstanding. Check moneytips.com for more information on debt collection and settlement opportunities.
If you have reached an agreement over the phone, you need the information the debt collection agency is offering in writing before going ahead with a settlement payment. This is important as it protects you from the money being used on a portion of your debt, leaving you with a remaining balance.
Many people are surprised to learn that they aren’t alone when it comes to those phone calls from debt collection agencies. While it can be scary and frustrating, there are ways to handle the situation and in some cases, create a settlement that allows the debt to be put to rest for good.