There are times when it is difficult to maintain a lifestyle to which you have become accustomed. If you are just starting out in life, you may not have the experience yet to be able to manage your money and bill paying successfully. If that is the case, you may find yourself with more debt than you can handle. In fact, it may be to the point where a debt collector reaches out to you.
Having debt collectors go after you can become very stressful and overwhelming. However, it may give you some comfort to realize that many other people are in the same position. It is understandable that if you owe money to someone or to a business, a debt collector will reach out to you. However, what you do not need and what is not appropriate is for the debt collector to harass you because of your debt.
Debt collection is a robust industry
In the United States, many people owe money to someone or some business and they have a difficult time paying that debt on time or at all. With that in mind, there is a good possibility that a debt collector has contacted you at some point. If the situation starts to escalate, there is the possibility that you may end up in court. On the other hand, there are certain measures that you can take to avoid your debt situation from reaching that point.
There are some things that you can do to manage the debt collectors who are coming after you, while protecting your rights and affecting a hopefully positive outcome at the same time. You can do the following:
Negotiating a settlement of your debt
It is common knowledge that debt collectors can often become aggressive when doing their jobs. They may call you repeatedly and you may feel that it is best to ignore them. Well, that may not do the trick.
The first thing that you will want to do is to understand your rights clearly. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a law from the U.S. government that was written specifically to protect people from unfair debt collection methods. The law prohibits debt collectors from behaving inappropriately toward debtors (including making threats, harassing, and being deceptive).
The law also dictates that debt collectors may only contact the debtor between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. If you understand your rights, you will be able to detect if a debt collector is infringing on your rights and you can report them to the authorities.
Having documentation of all matters connected to the debt collector will provide you with the support that you need to strengthen your case. Each call that the debt collector makes to you should be dated and the time should be recorded.
Also, you should document exactly what was said on the call. The documentation also applies to voicemails and Emails.
Be cautious about what you say: It is very important that you don’t give away information that the debt collector should not have so that they cannot use it against you in some way at a later date. You will not want to give them proprietary information, including your Social Security number, birthdate and your bank account number. Also, you should never confirm that the debt actually belongs to you because it can put you in a worse situation as far as validating the debt is concerned.
If you have done everything else as far as the debt is concerned, try to negotiate with the debt collector to see if they will accept a lesser amount to resolve your debt. They may accept a lump sum payment from you or they may agree to put you on a payment plan.
Ensure that everything is documented: Once you have come to an agreement with the debt collector, make sure that you have everything written down, including the agreed-upon amount, due date of the payment, and other important information. The documentation will shield you if the debt collector attempts to change the contract at any future point.
Debt collector negotiation can be challenging
Although it can be a difficult experience to have to deal with a debt collector, it is essential to remember that you have rights that must be protected. If you do your homework, you will hopefully do well.
The expert advice of a knowledgeable Maryland judgment and debt collection lawyer may make a tremendous difference to your case. The lawyer can help you to protect your rights and to negotiate effectively so that the outcome of your case is hopefully favorable.