When you are in debt, one of the things that happens is to constantly receive calls from your creditors and third-party collection agencies which is an absolute headache and something that no-one wants to go through.
So, it’s important to learn how to handle such issues, and how to even deal with debt collectors. As we guide you in this review through the do’s and don’ts, it’s important to first understand that you are not alone in this.
According to the Financial protection Bureau, roughly 28% of people with a credit history are in debt, and these debts have already been reported to a third-party collection agency. Around 9% already have 60-day delinquency on their cards.
What You Should Do and Not Do
Another important thing to note is that as a consumer, you have options, and you also have rights. A third-party entity should never intimidate you to the point of even threatening your life. This is wrong and MUST never be done. Here are some of the ways you can handle debts.
Don’t wait till you have a missed payment in order to fix the problem
Ensure that you contact your lenders in good time to explain what you are going through. In most cases, you might be surprised that they are willing to listen and understand, plus they are probably going to give you some time to clear the debt.
Most lenders accommodate hardship and can delay your payments when you request them, provided you do not make it a habit every month.
Do not allow a debt collector to intimidate you. The regulating body that is responsible for the debt collection agencies is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). According to the act, you have rights.
You must never allow a debt collector to intimidate you, such that you are scared for your life, or you feel threatened. Here are some rules that these debt collectors must adhere to when carrying out their collection duties.
- They are not allowed to threaten you at all.
- They should not contact you at your place of work.
- They must never call you very early in the morning or late at night.
- They should be in a position to provide you with adequate documentation that proves the validity of the claim that they are bringing against you.
- They cannot arrest or imprison you. It is illegal for them even to suggest it.
- They should never send letters that have the appearance of a government office or court letter.
- They should never threaten you with a legal action or threaten to harm you or garnish your wages.
Ensure that you verify your debts and understand your rights. The above rights MUST never be violated, and once a third party agency contacts you, the first thing you should do is ensure that you have verified the debt before you even start the process of paying, or negotiating on how to pay it.
Do not be afraid to consult with a credit counselor. When you are dealing with a financial crisis, a debt counselor can help you understand how to go about it, and they shall also explain to you anything that seems confusing.
Be careful when looking for a counselor. As much as they are trained to help, some could be out to take advantage of you and frustrate you. You must verify their credentials before you even hire them, and make sure you have a reliable reference point for them.
Also, be careful about debt relief. This is the process of consolidation, which we must advise is not the right road for everyone. You may end up in more debt than before if you do not take your time to research and find the lender that is willing to consolidate your debts at a much lower interest rate.
Perhaps the most important point to note when it comes to debt settlement is that you must know your rights. Just because you are in debt doesn’t mean that even the lender has a right to intimidate you. That is simply not true. All the best as you try to settle your debts.