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Learn to deal with debt collectors and know your rights

Photo Credit: lilcrazyfuzzy

There is a process for debt collection – from gentle reminders by post to more insistent requests for payment over your mobile during working hours and using an in-person visit from a repo man isn’t even the final resort. However, a debt collector on the step ready with a truck to take your stuff to sell to pay your debt can be traumatic. You could be forgiven for thinking they are they bad guys even though the bad guy is you because you didn’t pay back what you owe.

Is there a way to deal with debt collecting agencies?

Debt collection agencies are called in because you owe your creditor money. If you avoid an early morning knock of the tallyman on the door, organize your finances so you pay your bills on time. These days, registered collectors follow the law so although they won’t smash your home and throw you out on the street like they used to, there are still many tried and approved tactics they are permitted to use to encourage you to pay immediately. One is the dawn visit.

Be sure to know your rights: Spend some time learning about what collectors can do and what they cannot. They are not necessarily going to tell you how you can get some breathing space such as offering a part payment or finding a third party to pay for you. Check out the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act so you are better prepared for using the code to your advantage.

Be sure to know your debts: Prevention is always better than cure and so is knowing your enemy. Take a deep breath and sort out your paperwork to find out exactly what you owe to who and when.

Be sure to try your best to negotiate: Accept that the best thing to do to deal with the situation is to start paying your debt. If you face up to the situation and seek help after your first default, many lenders will work with you and offer a compromise. They’d rather you were paying them something towards your debt rather than nothing at all or going to legal expense. Have ready your ins and outgoings as well as an accurate idea of your household budget. They may curtail your account for a while but this is not by any means always permanent.


Depending on how much debt you have, you may eventually have to deal with a debt collector. Really, if you get a visit from a debt collector you know from all the calls and letters beforehand how much exactly you owe. But, if you are thinking of continuing to not pay and are willing to go head to head with a debt collector if he calls, this is not the way to handle any kind of dispute with creditors. Every action the company carries out from sending you a letter to the collector’s time taken to visit comes at a cost that is added to your bill. There may even be a daily administration cost or late payment fees. If you don’t want to be paying your debt by seeing your home repossessed or car towed away, respond right away to any demands from payment from debt collection agencies even if at that very moment you can’t pay the bill off.

Augusta Health Augusta Free Press Kris McMackin CPA
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Augusta Free Press