7 Things To Know When Dealing With a Debt Collector

Debt collection calls are never fun, not even in the best case scenario. It can be a real headache knowing that you have outstanding debt that can’t be paid and nowhere to turn because the debt collectors are only offering the bare minimum in terms of options. Most debt collectors believe that use of abusive language, threats and scare tactics will frighten you into paying them. Not only does this breed unnecessary tension it can make the situation become (or at least feel) a lot more dire. But knowledge is a superpower when it comes to dealing with a debt collector in any shape or form.

Here are 7 things To Know When Dealing With a Debt Collector

1. Familiarize yourself with the Fair Credit Reporting Act – Google it if necessary and print out. You have rights. Yes, a debt collector has every right to collect on a debt you legitimately owe, but there are rules and restrictions – formally known as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) – that govern how they can go about their business. Under any circumstances to you have to tolerate abusive behavior. It’s not legal. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act prohibits this kind of conduct. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was created for the sole purpose of protecting consumers from debt collector harassment by prohibiting certain debt collector behavior. If a debt collector exhibits such behavior, be sure to document the behavior. Keep a log of all harassment. Your next move is to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. You may request forms from the Federal Trade Commission, or you can write a letter yourself. Send it to 6th and Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20580, or visit them online. Be sure to include in your complaint the collection agency’s name and address, the name of the original creditor, the dates and times of all communications, the names of any witnesses, and copies of any other material (written communications, tapes of conversations, your debt collector harassment log, etc.)

2. Negotiate a Settlement On Your Terms, Not Theirs – Go over your income and expenses with a fine-tooth comb, figure out what you can afford, and only agree to pay a realistic amount. Payment plans are not always necessary and usually by the time your debt reaches third party collectors, it’s at last end before being written off. If you agree to a payment plan, you will likely pay more over time. Avoid this if you can. If you do agree to a payment plan, make sure you fully understand the total amount you will pay.

3. Zombie Debts Still Exist – A Zombie debt is an old debt that just won’t die. To piggyback off of Number 2, Collection accounts get resold all the time, and it’s not uncommon for someone to get a call about a debt that’s outside the statue of limitations or no longer owed. The latter is illegal, but the former may not be: The statue of limitations applies to how long a collector has to sue you over a debt, but, in many cases, they can still try to get you to pay. Do not pay it right away. Get the collector to validate the debt before even acknowledging that it exists. People unknowingly restart the clock on old debts by paying part or even agreeing over the phone that it’s yours. The key to defend yourself against Zombie Debts is to do your due diligence. Look at your credit reports to see if the debt is latched on. Dispute the debt, with the credit bureaus. Get all details necessary to fight it. That’s how you get it off your credit report.

4. Beware of Scammers – Always get the debt collector to identify themselves with their name, company, street address, telephone number and if your state licenses debt collectors, a professional license number,” according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which has more tips for spotting a debt-collection scam on its website. By law, you are entitled to verification.

5. Do Not Fall For The “Just Pay Something” Trap – Once you pay anything, especially giving payment over the phone. You are back to restarting the clock as debt gets bumped right up on your credit report based on how least or more often you pay. Always ask the collector to send you something in writing. Debt collectors must investigate a debt so long as you file a dispute in writing within 30 days of their initial contact – and they’re to cease contact until they verify (again in writing) that you owe the amount in question.

6. Too Many Calls Are Illegal – Another facet of FDCPA: Collectors can’t call you too early in the morning (before 8 a.m.), too late at night (after 9 p.m.), too many times a day or at work once you tell them not to. They’re also not allowed to use abusive language – no cuss words or name-calling. You can also ask them to stop calling. It is your right! Per FDCPA, a collector must cease contact if you send a letter requesting they do so. Keep a copy of your letter for your files. You can also send the original by certified mail, and pay for a “return receipt” so you’ll be able to document what the collector received. That letter won’t absolve you of the actual legitimate debt, but it can curb incessant and nonstop heated phones calls.

7. Collectors Can’t Just Inflate What You Owe – Regarding the amount: owed A debt collector can charge interest, but only up to the amount stipulated in your contract with the original creditor or what is permitted by law. Most states also cap the amount of interest and fees a debt collector can charge.

Debt is something nobody likes to have but you don’t have to become prisoner to the warden that are debt collection calls. You have rights. Exercising your rights helps you to take better control of your situation.

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Dealing With a Judgment on Your Credit Report

When trying to move about in the land of credit, those among us with checkered repayment histories will often find their travels to be rather arduous. There are many components to a credit file, and whenever one of those falls into disrepair, it behooves the individual to see what he might be able to do in order to rehabilitate that item and resume functional access to all that good credit provides. As this column has noted before, in addition to the more obvious benefits well-served by having good credit, it can now make the difference in what rates you pay for insurance, and even if you can land that job for which you’ve been desperately vying. The fact is that one’s credit history has, over time, become a yardstick by which to measure personal integrity, fair or not, so it is essential that you do everything you can to ensure that yours is as “pure” as it can be.

This said, there is one type of credit report entry that can prove especially troublesome to address – the judgment. Although the presence of judgments are generally subject to a seven-year time limitation, they are severe enough in appearance that many people would like to find a way to make them disappear more quickly; plus, because judgments can typically be renewed by creditors (the specifics of this will vary by state), there is always the chance that a judgment will re-appear on your credit after the original seven-year clock has wound down. Although there are things that can be done more readily to directly mitigate, even remove, other kinds of items on a credit report, judgments are a particular nuisance… so is there anything that can be done?

What differentiates judgments from “garden-variety” collection items on a credit report is that a judgment is representative of a court action, which means that the judgment becomes a part of one’s file not out of deference to the creditor who initiated legal action, but at the behest of the court. Once a collection matter moves from being a two-party issue (the debtor and the creditor) to a three-party issue (with the court added), the court becomes the 800-pound gorilla in the room. The only way to get a judgment removed from a credit report is to go through the legal process necessary to have it vacated, and that takes the help of an attorney, which also means time and money – plus, having a judgment vacated is simply a tall order.

So what are the options? Other than waiting for the judgment to eventually fall off of the report (and hope that it does not reappear), you might want to see about settling it… or paying the amount due outright, if that’s small enough… in exchange for a satisfaction of judgment. It is up to the creditor to file the satisfaction with the court, so before paying anything, be sure you have the creditor agree in writing that the satisfaction will be filed as a condition of your payment. In the case of paying a judgment, even a small one, it is smart to involve an attorney – even though it is not necessary, and will cost you some additional bucks to have one help you with the process, the benefit and weight of legal representation in the creation and review of the settlement agreement, as well as in pressuring the creditor to live up to the terms of the agreement, if necessary, can certainly be worth the money.

The information contained here is for general information purposes only. Bob Yetman disclaims responsibility for any liability or loss incurred as a consequence of the use or application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein. Nothing contained in this article should be construed as a solicitation or recommendation to engage in any financial transaction. You should seek the advice of a qualified professional before making any changes to your personal financial profile.

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Credit Card Debt – How to Manage It

Before you can really start to make real money, you will have to deal with the debt you might have accrued through earlier borrowings. Most people get themselves into financial difficulties through, borrowings made on Digital Signature. This is the primary product used by the banks to create debt in peoples lives, the interest on the capital borrowed that this creates for the banks, can keep people in debt for their whole life. Injudicious use of credit cards is promoted by a constant bombardment through the media of a buy now pay later philosophy, A constant call to our egos, that stokes discontent within lives. If you don’t have money you cannot have respect, without these material possessions, the money,the girls, the cars, you are nobody. With this continual disparagement, we compare ourselves to others and begin to believe, that we deserve all sorts of things that others may have had to pay a heavy price to obtain.

To break this cycle of ever increasing debt the first thing that has to change is your mindset. You must believe you are worth something, that you are valuable, and are a special and unique person. This is not an easy thing to perceive, especially if you have had a life full of people telling you something other than this. To have an identity, to know who you are, is a place of contentment, If you are content, you will stop striving for things, if you are happy, it does not matter what you have or do not have. You are created in the image of God, allow Him to define you, God say’s you are fearfully and wonderfully made, he took his time putting you together, He thought about what your purpose was and gave you the tools to achieve that Digital signature online. This God sent His Son who we killed, but that was part of the plan, because without His death the Comforter could not come, If you need some financial comfort, know that godliness with contentment is great gain, and that without a credit card, you immediately rid yourself of a source of credit card debt within your life, get the scissors out cut up all your credit cards and you put your self in a place where the debt generated by the credit cards cannot get any bigger. Freed from debt you are now free to earn money from the Internet.

You can start to address the debt outstanding, by changing the way you make Buy digital signature. Pay for all purchases with Cash or by Debit Card. This will give you a much greater appreciation of what you are spending, this takes a bit of getting used to, but the first thing you will feel is empowered, this will make you feel good about yourself, and will also give you a sense of control over where the money is being spent and what for.

To get an even tighter grip on the debt situation you will need to make a budget, fill out a budget planner, and begin to forecast future spending, but more importantly look to find areas where you can begin to save money. Once you are saving money, this frees you up to spend time earning money on the Internet. I told you this was not a get rich quick scheme, but do not bail out, all you need is an attitude adjustment, a new mindset, and I can help you with that.

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Pay For Delete – Does It Really Work?

When you read the forums on personal finance, debt and credit help, lots of people advise you should demand the collection agency remove your account from your credit report as part of the negotiation. This is called “Digital signature certificate“.

In theory this sounds great. Pay less than what you owe and have all traces of this debt removed from your credit report. There are even dozens of sample letters available Buy digital signature to help you work the magic and make the collections account disappear. But how often does it really occur?

It occurs much less frequently than those forum posters make it sound like! According to Allie Johnson at CreditCards.com, only about 10% of collection agencies will agree to a Pay For Delete. So for every successful story of a Pay For Delete there are nine other stories of rejection.

Why such a small percentage of success? Let’s look at this from the standpoint of the credit bureaus and the collection agencies. The collection agencies are paid members of the three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). All members of the credit bureaus promise contractually to report accurate credit information. Whether positive or negative data.

If you were a member of a credit bureau and you were considering loaning money to someone, wouldn’t you want to know the whole story about the person wanting to borrow your money?

The credit bureaus expect 100% honest reporting from their members. When a collection agency deletes negative information falsely (technically a Pay For Delete is a lie) it risks its membership being terminated by the credit bureaus. No collection agency wants that to happen.

Then why do some Pay For Deletes occur? The agency needs to collect money to remain in business. They either are splitting whatever they collect with the original creditor (an assigned debt) or they paid money and bought the debt from the original creditor (a purchased debt). In either case money needs to come in to keep the doors open!

So if you have a large debt (say $2000), the agency might risk an angry call from the credit bureaus if you were to pay them $1000. After all, cash talks! But if you have a $100 debt, it is doubtful that any agency would risk its membership if you offer $50 for the Pay For Delete.

Your chance for a successful Pay For Delete can increase if you can prove that you never got the bill. For example if you have a medical bill which was mailed to an old address and you can prove you were at a new address when the bills were sent out, then there is a legitimate reason for the collection agency to delete your account from the credit bureaus once you pay.

Pay For Delete was a popular trade many years ago but is very rarely accepted today. Collection agencies and creditors are required to remove inaccurate data from credit reports. But they are not required to remove accurate, negative data from credit reports.

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Climb Your Debt Mountain One Step at a Time

Charlie Linville lives here in Boise. He is a US Marine Corps veteran who lost his right leg in 2012 when he stepped on an IED in Afghanistan. He returned home last night after becoming the first combat amputee to climb to the top of Mount Everest.

This was his THIRD attempt to scale the mountain. An avalanche shut down his attempt in 2014. An earthquake shut the mountain down in 2015.

He succeeded this time, but still had to fight the battler against freezing temperatures and 60 mph winds.

Mr. Linville did not just wake up one morning, catch a plane to Nepal, throw a backpack on and start hiking. His successful ascent in 2016 took him away from his family for FOUR MONTHS. So on top of all the training he did here in the USA before leaving, he had to plan, adapt, change plans, etc to complete his dream. It was not a one day shot!

When we look at a mountain of debt in front of us, it can appear to be as tall as Mount Everest. Most people believe they have to climb it in one straight shot. So few start the climb and even fewer make it to the top. The majority quit after a short time.

You have my permission to take your time to climb your debt mountain! Making it to the top is infinitely more important than how you get to the top. We all have different paths to get to the top.

Each of us has unique circumstances to work with. Single or married. Kids or no kids. Where you live and the cost of living. So making a statement like “spend less than you earn” is meaningless without putting it into the context of your life.

I have two “tools” for you to put into your climbing backpack. These are the compass and map for you to use on your ascent. Without these you may fall into a crevasse!

You cannot climb without a map or a guide. Your credit report will show you what debts are delinquent, which are in collections, if you have any judgments against you and if you have any errors reporting which need to be fixed.

Order one free report from Free Annual Credit Report. You get one from each credit bureau free annually so I would save the other two freebies for later in case you need them.

The credit report will also show you your delinquency dates which you will need for your next tool.

If you have some old debts, they might be too old for you to be taken to court for. This is where the statute of limitations comes in. Your debts are always collectible but each state has a law setting the maximum time for which you can be sued over them.

Go to¬†NerdWallet¬†and see what your state’s SOL is.

A compass tells you which direction you are heading. If a debt is too old to go to court, you may direct your attention to pay a newer one first. You have control over your plan!

Once you have these two tools, then you can create your plan and timetable to pay off those debts. You will know how to allocate your income and determine if you can trim any expenses.

Retired Staff Sergeant Linville demonstrated the awesome task of climbing Mount Everest could be accomplished despite numerous setbacks and months away from home. You can successfully conquer your debt mountain if you climb it one planned step at a time.

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