When you fall behind on your bills, you immediately start dreading hearing the phone ring because you know it is probably a debt collector. Although you will be tempted to ignore debt collectors, this is a bad idea. It is much better to face the issue head-on so matters don’t get worse. In fact, the best strategy is to avoid dealing with debt collectors altogether by negotiating with your original creditor as soon as you start experiencing financial struggles.
If you are already at the point where debt collectors are contacting you, consider the following 5 tips for how to deal with them:
- Understand your rights. There is a significant amount of information available to consumers regarding their rights when it comes to dealing with debt collection efforts. It is important for you to understand that harassing calls, threats and abusive language by a collector are illegal. If you are being harassed or abused by a debt collector, contact us for help.
- Don’t ignore collection efforts. If you stick your head in the sand and ignore collection letters or telephone calls, it can lead to a lawsuit being filed against you, or worse, a judgment being entered against you. One important step all consumers should take is to send a written request for verification of the debt within 30 days of being contacted by the collector. If you discover the debt does not belong to you, take immediate action to have the error corrected or it will damage your credit report.
- Work with a consumer debt relief attorney. If you are being harassed by debt collectors, an experienced lawyer can make the harassment stop. Additionally, if you are served with notice of a collection lawsuit, you should immediately find a consumer law attorney to represent you in court. It is common for debt collectors to file lawsuits with very little proof of the original debt owed or even after the statute of limitations has expired. However, if you fail to respond to the petition, the court will likely assume you agree with the allegations and enter a default judgment against you. Having a knowledgeable lawyer assist you significantly increases your chances of having the lawsuit against you dismissed.
- Maintain good records. There is no magic number of years you should keep documents regarding your debts, but if an issue arises regarding your debt, you will want to have the documentation to support your position. This is particularly important when you have documents proving you paid off a loan or other debt.
The attorneys at Fitzgerald & Campbell represent debtors all over the State of California in debt settlement, collections harassment and credit card lawsuits. If you have a matter relating to a debt you owe, contact us today by calling (844) 431-3851 for a consultation.