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Debt Management – Dealing With Collectors

by Adam Heist


While dealing with debt collection agencies is nothing any of us look forward to, it is sometimes necessary. Here are some useful reminders in helping to deal with them:-

1. Know your Rights
You always have a right to be treated with respect, fairly and have your privacy respected. You do not need to listen to any obscene language, threatened or be called names. You also have the right to dispute all or part of your debt, even though you may actually owe it. You can request that you not be disturbed at work, or at any time and place inconvenient to you. Finally, you can also request that no further attempts be made to contact you.

2. Ask Questions
Whenever dealing with debt collectors you should ask for the name of the caller and the name of the collection agency. You should ask for the address and fax number for corresponding with the agency and you can also ask for the name of the creditor and the amount the collector claims you owe.

3. Maintain a File
From the point of first contact with the debt collection agency you should maintain a file which records the dates and times of phone conversations or messages the collector leaves you. Include details such as the name of the individual and summary of the conversation.

4. Document Dealings
All that transpires between you and the agency should be followed up with a certified letter, return receipt requested, stating the same.

5. Pay the Appropriate Party
Make sure you are paying the right entity for perhaps your debt has been sold to the agency and any payments made to the creditor will therefore not be reflected in your account with them.

6. Don't be Coerced
People sometimes pay a bill just because they want to avoid harassment. Do not do this as by making the payment you have acknowledged a debt that is not yours.

7. Understand your Dues
Make sure you carefully review, and agree with, the breakdown of your dues from the principal and interest to any late fees or charges.

8. Complain when Appropriate
If the debt collection agency has behaved inappropriately then you must complain to the appropriate authorities.

9. Don't Ignore
Avoiding a problem rarely makes it go away and usually makes it worse. Make sure to attend and respond to all calls and correspondence of such agencies

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