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How to Talk to the Debt Collectors While Protecting Your Rights

If you are behind on your monthly debt payments, you shouldn’t be too surprised when the debt collectors begin calling. Answering those phone calls can be stressful, so it can be helpful to know what to say.

Stated by Important Credit News, debt collectors have rules and regulations that they must follow. So, they cannot call at all hours of the day and night. If debt collectors are calling you, you should not only know how to talk to them, but you should also know what your rights are in regards to the debt-collection calls.

How They Find You

Debt collectors get your name and contact information from the creditors that you are not paying. They contract the debt collectors who work on their behalf to recoup some, if not all, of the debt you owe.

Answer Once

When they call you, answer the call. It might be uncomfortable to talk to them, but you should be sure that they have your information correct. Ask them what creditor they are representing and how much they claim you owe. You should also ask them how old the debt is, as it may have passed the statute of limitations in your state.

Get Written Details

The most important thing you should do when you talk to the debt collector is to ask them to send the information to your home address. If the debt collector is legitimate, they will be able to send you a letter with the details you need to know. This gives you the information you need to dispute the claim or check it against your credit report. You might even find that someone opened an account in your name if you have been a victim of identity theft.

No Promises or Information

Whatever you do, do not give out any information over the phone. Do not share your bank account numbers, and do not make any promises to pay. If the debt collector wants you to commit a payment, tell them you want to see the written information first.

When To Settle

After you receive your written information, you can contact the debt collector and attempt to settle. Many times, the settlement amount will be significantly lower than the total you owe. If you pay off the debt with a settlement, your credit report will not make an impact as severely if you do not pay at all. If they won’t accept a settlement, ask about a payment plan that fits into your budget. Do not put the amount onto a credit card.

Your Rights

As a debtor, you have rights. The first is that debt collectors cannot call outside of the hours of 8 AM and 9 PM. They cannot call you at work, and they should be able to give you a number that you can call back at a time that works better for you. Debt collectors must tell you the truth, and they are not allowed to harass you. They also cannot threaten you. Debtor’s rights are available through the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.