If debt collectors are hounding you day and night, threatening you or using foul language, you are a victim of debt collection harassment. Do not be a victim, fight back. The fact is debt collectors are very skilled at making you promise them something you are unable to deliver or say anything they can use against you. This means it is critical that you know your rights and know what to say before talking to a debt collector Portfolio recovery associates.
Did you know that it is unlawful for a debt collector to berate or abuse consumers and call before 8 am and after 9 pm? If your creditors transfer your account to a third party to try to collect from you, they have the right to do it. However, you also have the right to be treated fairly, and the Fair Debt Practices Collections Act protects you against debt collection harassment.
One of the best ways to learn your rights is to visit the Federal Trade Commission website, additionally, each state has its own laws about debt collection and you can check your state’s official website for your rights and the debt collector’s.
Most of the states in the U.S. allow you to secretly record phone conversations. The rest of the states also allow you to do it provided you let the other person know you are doing so. You should check the website of your state’s Attorney General to find out where your state stands on this matter.
So what to do to stop the harassment? You have two options:
- You can screen your phone calls and choose not to take them. This does not mean your debt will go away, obviously you must do something to satisfy your debts; either pay in full, ask for a settlement, or -in extreme cases- file for bankruptcy. Failure to act will make your financial situation worse.
- You can take the phone calls and promptly advise the collector that you are taping the conversation. You should see a sudden change of behavior and a calm and helpful attitude as soon as they are aware they are being recorded. This tool works like magic to stop debt collection harassment, however it works both ways; so do not promise anything you will not be able to fulfill.
You can then try to settle or negotiate your debt, which means paying less that what you owe in a lump sum. Original creditors authorize collection agencies to negotiate and take less than it is owed. So determine what you can pay and offer less than that amount, this will give you bargaining power. However, this is easier said than done. Your creditors are not obligated to negotiate or take your offer. The truth is you have to know how to negotiate your debt settlement, as well as the tricks used in the industry.