Communicating with collectors in light of credit card debt

One of the most harrowing experiences of any adult Mississippian's life is dealing with debt that has gone into collections. When someone who owes a debt, whether the dollar amount is small or staggering, the debt can go into collections if no payment is made for a certain amount of time and attempts to reach the debtor are unsuccessful.

While it is always helpful to prevent a debt from going to collections, sometimes mistakes are made and the creditors turn the debt over to a third party collector. This can happen with many types of debt, but the type most Americans are probably used to is credit card debt. If one has credit card debt that the person can't immediately repay, fortunately there are steps that can be taken to reduce creditor harassment and move forward productively.

First, opening the lines of communication can work wonders. While it's understandable to want to avoid debt collectors, avoiding the issue is almost guaranteed to make it worse. Sometimes a deal can be made with the original creditor or with a collector. It's also important to thoroughly document all communications with both creditors and collectors.

Furthermore, collectors must abide by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and violations can be reported to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. It's important to know that harassing phone calls and abusive language are both against the law.

Another element in dealing with debt collectors is ensuring that the debt is truly owed and in the proper amount. For example, a debtor would be unwise to simply assume a credit card debt from years ago is represented accurately by a collector. Proof of credit card debt can be requested within 30 days of a collectors' first contact.

People should take these steps and understand all their legal rights when credit card debt has been turned over to collections.

Source: Fox Business, "10 Tips for dealing with debt collectors, collection," Fred O. Williams, April 3, 2014

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