In a perfect world, debt collectors would do what they’re supposed to without a bunch of laws to keep them in check. However, this world is definitely far from perfect, which means that you’re going to have to seriously start thinking about the type of treatment that you’re supposed to get.
Now, even though a debt collector’s behavior is generally covered under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, that doesn’t mean that they’re going to be sunshine and rainbows to deal with. You still want to make sure that you keep your guard up. You will still need to make sure that you’re thinking about how to get everything and everyone taken care of as much as possible. If you want to really make sure that everything is going to move along just fine, you need to know your laws. There’s really now ay to get around it — if you don’t know what collectors can and can’t do, then you’re always going to end up thinking that anything they say is fine because after all, you owe them money.
In a sense, you actually owe the original creditor. Since they’ve written off the debt, you do pay the collection agency. However, it doesn’t affect your credit rating as much as you think. All you will get for paying a charge off is “paid in full” or “settled for less than the full amount”. The best way to negotiate is to get a pay for delete situation, where the collection agency agrees to remove the tradeline and act like nothing else has happened. That’s going to be the best way to ensure that you have things together.
Not sure where to begin? Thankfully, we have you covered. There’s at least ten things that debt collector cannot do.
First and foremost, they cannot ask you to pay more than you owe. This is definitely the biggest one that you really need to pay attention to. The collector cannot tell you that you owe $1000 when you owe $800.
In addition, they cannot take on little extra fees that your original agreement does not allow. This is why it’s very important to make sure that you validate all of your debts when you’re dealing with a collection agency. They have to show you not only that they have the right to collect the debt, but they need to actually show you how much you owe and a breakdown of the charges. If they cannot do that, then you don’t have any need to pay them — and you can move to have the tradeline removed from your record.
The third thing that you will want to pay attention to is how they call you. Repeat calls where they have made contact with you is considered harassment. Notice the difference here, though — it’s not harassment if you don’t pick up the phone. As long as they call within a certain time frame, they are permitted to keep trying until they get a hold of you or someone that’s authorized to speak on the account.
They cannot use abusive language or profanity. Swearing at you to pay up is going to be harassment under any language.
Call time frames are pretty important. They cannot call you before 8am or after 9pm — and it’s important to realize that they can’t call you when they know that you cannot receive calls at work, or another time where they know it’s inconvenient for you.
Don’t forget that they cannot threaten to use violence if you don’t pay the debt. It’s sad that we have to even put that into law, but there it is!