A Guide to Working With Debt Collectors

by Kaylyn Todd

The Importance of Confronting Your Debt

When you owe people money, it's all too tempting to avoid facing the problem for as long as possible. Unfortunately, this strategy ends up doing far more harm than good in the long run. Dealing with debt responsibly is all about working with your collectors. Showing that you're willing to come to the bargaining table goes farther than you might think, and staying aware of your debt status is always preferable to being unpleasantly surprised later. Follow these tips to make debt management simpler.

Be Willing to Have the Discussion

One of the biggest reasons that people avoid debt collectors is that they don't know how to interact with them. For instance, a debt collection company that wants you to pay might not really care about your personal financial hardships. Having to face repetitive questions about your ability to pay when you know that you're falling behind can be extremely stressful.

It's impossible to overstate the importance of communicating with your collectors. You don't have to agree to anything that you feel is ill-advised, and collectors are legally forbidden from harassing or threatening you. Taking the time to talk things out, however, might give you more options that you didn't know you had, such as debt cancellation. Even if you don't agree to a repayment plan right away, the fact that you got in touch makes your debtors less likely to keep pestering you.

Understand Your Consumer Rights

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA, prohibits debt collectors and their agents from taking many different actions that are abusive or unfair. Under this landmark rule, you have rights such as:

  • The ability to demand that your debt collection agency quits calling you at certain hours or at your job.
  • Protection from unfair lawsuits or legal threats.
  • The ability to receive validation of your debt in writing.
  • The power to dispute the validity of your debts.

As a consumer, you should know that debt collectors can only discuss your debt with you or the people you formally authorize to talk about it. Since you're in control of what happens from here on out, it's best to deal with things head-on.

Although consumer protection laws like the FDCPA don't mean that you can simply go without paying, they do a lot to put you in charge. Working with your collector lets you exercise these rights more proactively.

Keep the Benefits in Mind

Facing your debt has many advantages, and one of the most important is that it helps you grow your consumer purchasing power. Resolving debt from your credit history is a good way to boost your score so that you can get approved for things like mortgages and credit cards. Although this might not be the ideal time to start borrowing more, it's a perfect opportunity to think ahead and prepare.

How do you deal with debt collectors? Check out the L J Ross blog online for more smart tips.

Posted by

Kaylyn Todd