It doesn’t take much for a bill you owe to a hospital or utility to go to a debt collector. Maybe you are disputing a medical charge with your health insurer and haven’t paid the bill because you believe you shouldn’t have been charged. Before you know it, you get a notice that the bill has been sent to a debt collection agency. When a debt collector contacts you, be aware of your rights so that you are not taken advantage of.
Tips for Handling Debt Collectors
Thanks to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), you are entitled to take certain actions when contacted by a third-party debt collector. To protect these rights, be sure to take the following steps:
Get the debt information in writing. If you are contacted by a debt collector by phone, don’t get involved in the details. Instead, tell them to send you the information in writing. The debt collector must send you information about how much you owe, your creditor, and how to dispute the charge within five days of contacting you.
Dispute the debt in writing. If you don’t believe you owe the money you are being asked for, send the debt collector a letter stating so within 30 days. Once receiving your letter, they are no longer permitted to contact you unless they have new information about the debt.
Keep records of all communication. Keep a log of phone calls made and received and keep copies of all written correspondence. You will need this trail if you end up having to file a formal dispute against the collection agency.
Don’t argue with a debt collector. You are not likely to accomplish anything by arguing with a debt collector over the phone. You are not required to answer questions or agree to anything over the phone. Make your case in writing and hire an attorney if you cannot get a resolution on your own.
If you want the debt collector to never communicate with you again, send a letter requesting that it cease and desist from contacting you ever again. If the debt collector does write or call and attempt to collect the debt, then call us as it is a violation of the FDCPA, entitling you to damages and legal fees.
The Consumer Law Group Is Here If You Need Us
When a debt collector crosses the line, you may need the help of a consumer lawyer. Fill out the form on this page to get in touch with our experienced debt settlement attorneys. We will get back to you promptly.