Falling behind on bill payments can ultimately lead to unpleasant calls from debt collection agencies. However, people who lack the ability to pay back the amount owed right away can take certain steps in the event that they believe they are being harassed by debt collectors.
Debt collectors have a reputation for being very aggressive. Their goal is to have people who are in arrears pay back what they owe, and they tend to play hardball. People should know that the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act stipulates that debt collector agencies have to send consumers a notice in writing within five days of making contact. The letter must detail how much is owed, the identity of the creditor, and what measures consumers should pursue if they dispute the notion that they are in arrears.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act clearly prohibits certain behavior on the part of debt collectors. Therefore, it's essential that people keep records of all written correspondence and phone calls so that they have proof if debt collectors break the law by, among other things, employing foul language, calling a place of employment if they have been instructed not to do so, or engaging in harassment through repeated calls.
It might make sense for people to obtain legal representation if the situation gets to the point where they are taken to court. Lawyers know all the strategies debt collection agencies use to force compliance, and they will be able to represent the best interest of their clients. Sometimes people can be served with a lawsuit notice even though the debt collection entities behind the legal action lack sufficient proof of the original debt outstanding. Lawyers will be able to determine whether or not this is the case as to challenge any unsubstantiated claims made.
When it comes to dealing with persistent debt collectors, the best bet is to use as few words as possible. Debt collectors will ask lots of questions in order to get a feel for whether or not people in arrears can actually afford to pay. People who have enlisted the services of legal representatives can also refer the debt collection agencies to their lawyers.
If debt collectors are pushing too hard, you can push back by making an offer to pay back a fraction of what is actually owed. For instance, people who are $1,000 in arrears might, if they can't afford to pay everything back, offer to pay back 25% of that amount immediately. Debt collection companies that realize they're unlikely to receive the full amount might be willing to negotiate with people who are in debt. People who are fortunate enough to secure a deal to pay back less than the amount that is actually owed should ask for the agreed-upon deal in writing.
Few things are more unpleasant than receiving annoying, repeated calls from debt collectors. However, people who feel that the calls cross the line to the point of constituting harassment have some recourse. There are, in fact, things that you can do to take some control of the situation and to work toward a satisfactory resolution.