How to Deal with Debt Collectors
The Dolans explain your rights when dealing with harassing debt collectors.
Ken: Hi everybody thanks for joining us. It’s no surprise that an awful lot of people are getting phone calls during the day, at night at work or whatever about bills that owe because the average credit card balance start is over $8,000.00 so the answer is don’t go into debt I suppose. But if you do you have some rights you can't be abused.
Daria: No you can't be abused but nor can you can you abuse your creditors by not paying what you owe. So if a credit collector calls you—
Ken: I know that 8 o’clock in the morning till 9 o’clock at night. Tell me if I'm right or wrong 8 AM to 9 PM but not at work unless your employer approves the call.
Daria: Exactly. Well tell you what to do if they continue to abuse certain rules.
Ken: I'm going to ask you a question I’ll answer that as well. How do I stop them?
Daria: Here’s how you stop them, you have to send a letter, sorry but that’s how you can do it. It has to be in writing to the collection agency, keep a copy for yourself so you'll have some proof if you have to go to the state attorney general consumer protection agency later because they aren’t paying attention. Say “please do not call me from hereon in I would prefer that this could be conducted in writing”.
Ken: That doesn’t go away.
Daria: No it does not in your debt and you could still be sued by that collector by non-payment but you can request that they not contact you by phone or certainly do not contact me at work. Just make a copy of the letter.
Ken: Ask me a question.
Daria: What must a debt collector tell you about your bill? You know somebody can't just call up and say “hey you owe a $1,000.00”.
Ken: How much you owe to whom you owe it, don’t forget this is the debt collector not the company you owe it to; how much do to whom you owe it and what action to take if you believe that you do not owe that money, they must tell you that other action you can take if you don’t owe the money.
All right I'm going to tell you I don’t owe the money, now what do I do.
Daria: You keep making me tell people to write letters but you have to send the collector a letter requesting verification. I want to see in writing this bill that I supposedly owe. And the collector cannot call you until you received confirmation in a way that verification of charge.
Ken: I like that. Okay ask me another one.
Daria: If they are not following these directives that we've just shared with you where do I complain?
Ken: I don’t know—well of course I know, you can complain to the company who you owe the money to saying who are these knuckle who is after me like this, this is not very good for you company. You can also talk to your state attorney general’s consumer protection office, number two. And number three you have—and the federal trade commission too. I'm not sure how good they’ll do but the federal trade commission in your state. Usually there's an office in your state certainly in DC and Washington.
Also if the collector is being abusive you also have the right to sue the collector in state or federal court. We hope it doesn’t come to that you got enough trouble as it is but those are your rights.
Daria: So those of you that really like to have something hard that you can take a look at and refer to from time to time there's a great book by our friend Gerri Detweiler that…
Ken: …just came out
Daria: Yup called Stop Debt Collectors and you can get that book by going to credit.com.
Ken: Good. Thank you Daria. We don’t want you in debt. We don’t want people knocking down the door to collect. You do have rights under federal law know them.
How to Deal with Debt Collectors
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