Debt collectors are companies or individuals who are hired to collect debts on behalf of a creditor. If a debt collector contacts you, it's important to understand your rights and take the appropriate steps to protect yourself. Here's what you should do if a debt collector contacts you:
- Verify the debt: The first step in dealing with a debt collector is to verify that the debt is legitimate. Ask the collector to provide you with written documentation of the debt, including the name of the original creditor, the amount owed, and any interest or fees.
- Review your rights: Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), debt collectors are required to follow certain rules and regulations when collecting debts. Review your rights under the FDCPA and ensure that the debt collector is not violating any of these rules.
- Negotiate a payment plan: If you owe the debt, but cannot afford to pay it in full, you may be able to negotiate a payment plan with the debt collector. Be sure to get any agreement in writing and keep records of all payments made.
- Dispute the debt: If you believe that the debt is not legitimate, you can dispute it with the debt collector. Send a written letter to the debt collector explaining why you believe the debt is not legitimate, and include any supporting documentation.
- Seek legal advice: If you are unable to resolve the debt with the debt collector or believe that your rights have been violated, you may want to seek legal advice. A lawyer can help you understand your legal options and take the appropriate steps to protect your rights.
Dealing with debt collectors can be stressful, but it's important to understand your rights and take action to protect yourself. By verifying the debt, reviewing your rights, negotiating a payment plan, disputing the debt, and seeking legal advice if necessary, you can take control of the situation and protect your financial future.
For more information, the link below will take you to the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau’s web site with more information and template letters.