When you find yourself in a scenario that you must deal with debt collectors, these seven tips will help you out:
1.Ensure it’s your debt:
Be careful when answering calls from debt collectors. You might get calls that aren’t made for you, and if you don’t crosscheck your credit report, you might end up paying someone else’s debt. Always tell the debt collector to stop calling you and to send you something by mail. If they don’t follow your instruction, this could be worth up to $1,000 per phone call.
2. Check the amount:
Sometimes your debt might be inflated, either deliberately or unintentionally. Therefore, always check the charged off balance on the credit report and talk to the creditor if you find out there is a huge inflation.
3. Don’t get intimidated:
It is typical for debt collectors to harass and intimidate people. Whenever they visit you, don’t give in to their scare tactics. If you do, you might end up paying more debt than you owe.
4. Don’t get angry:
Debt collectors are known to play mind games on you and can get you to pay based on your reaction. Always stay calm whenever they call and answer properly. Do not allow them to make you agree to things you shouldn’t.
5. Remember negotiation:
Always negotiate whenever debt collectors call you. If you are not able to pay the balance fully, let them know what you can afford monthly and set a payment plan. Never allow them to make conclusions for the repayment plan without you agreeing. Make sure if you pay them that they will delete it from your credit report and not just mark it as paid. Ask for a Pay for Deletion.
6. Time limit:
Be informed on what the statute of limitations is in your state. In California, it’s seven years. If the debt is older than seven years it should be removed from your credit report. If you pay the debt and do not get the proper deletion agreement from the debt collection agency, this resets the SOL from the date of the last payment, making you SOL.
7. Be informed of the law:
When you are informed of the law, no debt collector can intimidate or harass you. Whenever they break a law, such as calling before 8 am or after 9 pm, don’t be afraid to report them to the appropriate authorities. Get familiar with The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, a set of consumer laws that dictates how a debt collector can interact with consumers.