What You Need to Know about Debt Collectors

Sun, Sep 26, 2010

Bankruptcy, Bankruptcy Blogs I Read

WalletPop.com recently published an interview with a journalist who decided to spend some time working at a debt collection agency to research whether or not the company complied with federal guidelines for debt collectors (as outlined in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act).

His findings (which are detailed in the book Fight Back against Unfair Debt Collection Practices), are summarized below.

What to Expect from Debt Collectors

While federal law specifically states that debt collectors must follow various guidelines that basically add up to treating debtors with respect, various reports have suggested that many collectors regularly break these guidelines—and most consumers don’t realize they have rights in the matter.

Here are some classic maneuvers to watch out for and speak up about if you encounter:

  • Trainees don’t count. It seems that some collection agencies excuse illegal behavior from employees by identifying them as “trainees,” meaning that they haven’t been fully instructed on how to behave according to the laws. To counteract this potential argument, make sure you document any threatening or rude calls from debt collectors: get their name, employee number, the date and the time of the call.
  • Tapes and lawyers come in handy. Apparently, debt collectors will play by the rules if you notify them that you are recording the conversation or that your lawyer is handling your debt collection calls. Be warned, though, that professional collectors have worked with a lot of debtors and you’ll actually need to have a lawyer retained if you claim you do.
  • Don’t give permission. In order to contact you outside the hours of 8:00 am and 9:00 pm, debt collectors need your express permission; however, it seems that some debt collectors will essentially lie about getting such permission by fudging their notes about a call. This reinforces the importance of taking notes about such phone calls yourself to use in cases of harassment.
  • Collectors probably know your credit history. One reportedly common tactic is for a collector to refer to other debts you may be current on when trying to collect a debt on which you’ve fallen behind. This means that you should be checking your credit report regularly to make sure you know at least as much as they do.
  • Get settlements in writing. If you and a collector agree to settle a debt for a partial, lump-sum payment, be sure to get the agreement in writing before making any payments. The agreement should have the original amount of the debt, the agreed settlement amount and the terms of the repayment. If you’re communicating with a collector over the phone, insist on an emailed PDF or a faxed copy of the agreement before making any payment.

Protect Your Rights from Debt Collectors

If you think your rights have been violated, you may want to contact a bankruptcy lawyer in your area to see what your options are for moving forward.

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Neither Peter Mullison or Colorado Bankruptcy Law Group, LLC is responsible for the content of this post. It is from a syndicated feed from a blog that we read to keep up with current developments in bankruptcy law. To continue reading the blog post, click on the Go to Source link.

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This post was written by:

Peter Mullison - Denver Colorado Bankruptcy Attorney - who has written 228 posts on Denver Colorado Bankruptcy Attorney – Chapter 7 & 13 Lawyers.

Peter Mullison is a Denver, Colorado bankruptcy attorney.

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