Borrowers, even when debts have gone to collections, have a number of rights debt collectors cannot legally violate. In some cases debt collectors will rely upon the fact that you may not be aware of these rights and use your lack of awareness to take advantage of you.
Let’s take a look at a few tips debt collectors don’t want you to know.
You Don’t Have to Pay The Full Amount
Third party debt collectors purchase unpaid debts from primary lenders at a fraction of the amount owed. They then try to get debtors to pay as much as possible. The more they can get you to pay, the bigger their profit margin.
However, this also means they have room to cut deals, particularly if it looks like you’re more likely to file for bankruptcy protection than pay them anything at all.
One school of thought says it’s best to try to work out a deal with a collector at the end of the month, because they have to make their monthly quotas and are more likely to be amenable to an offer.
They Can Be Restrained From Contacting You
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act gives you the right to inform creditors in writing that you want them to stop contacting you about a debt. Once they are in receipt of that request, any further contact will put them in violation of the act and you can file charges against them.
Now before you’re tempted to treat this like an “I don’t have to pay the debt” card, the obligation remains valid. They just can’t get in touch with you about it.
They Can’t Ruin Your Credit
Often debt collectors will say your failure to pay them will result in the ruination of your credit. Here’s the thing though, if you have a debt that has gone to collections, your credit score has already taken a pretty sizable hit.
That happened when the original creditor decided your account was in default and sold it off to the debt collector. Failing to work with a collector on their terms won’t make your credit score any worse.
The Debt May Be Too Old to Take You To Court
Once a debt is incurred, it remains a debt until it is paid off or settled. However, debt collectors only have a limited number of years to take you to court to get a lien against your wages and bank accounts.
This statute of limitations varies from state-to-state, however the effect of it is the same. Creditors cannot sue you, pursue a lien, or avail themselves of the legal system in any other way to collect on the debt once that window closes.
You can learn more about this and similar topics at Freedom Debt Relief .
Here’s the thing though, if they can get you to make even a minimal payment on that debt, the clock restarts and their legal rights kick back in. This is why you should never send a collector any money until a debt is verified.
You Can Request a Debt Be Removed From Your Credit Report
When negotiating a debt settlement, you can ask to have the debt removed from your credit report—once you have met the terms of your agreement. Be sure and get that arrangement in writing, just in case someone “forgets” to do so after the debt is settled.
These are but a few of the actions available to you under the FDCPA. You can learn more about the Act at the Federal Trade Commission’s website.