Credit Cards and Debt / Personal Finance

How to Deal with Debt Collectors

Nowadays, debt is a woefully common problem; even worse, in many ways, is the dealing with the collectors that come attached to the debt.  Sometimes, it can seem like debt collectors are specifically employed to make your life as difficult as possible, but if we could offer one tip above all else when it comes to debt collectors, it would be to resist the urge to ignore them.  Deal with your debt and those pesky collectors, or else the problem will only get worse and worse and could lead to eventual legal consequences.

In this article, we seek to arm you with a little more knowledge when it comes to dealing with debt collectors.  While it may all seem very cat-and-mouse with the drama of debt, you do have rights.

  • Those rights are the best place to start.  Learn your rights and responsibilities when it comes to debt and debt collection.  The US Federal Trade Commission has publications dedicated to educating consumers about their rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.  Your debt collector is NOT allowed to threaten you. Any harassing phone calls or abusive language should be reported to the FTS and your state attorney general’s office.
  • We repeat, do not ignore letters or phone calls regarding debt, court notices, or debt lawsuits. If the debt is not yours, this is extremely important – you need to contact the debt collectors or they can really do some damage to your credit report.  If the debt is yours, then ignoring it will not make it go away.
  • Keep records. In the event that you pay off your debt, it’s a good idea to keep proof on hand that you did so.  There’s some debate as to how long you need to hold on to debt repayment proof for, but the longer the better.  You never know what could happen or when a company could have a bug in their files.
  • Be wary. It’s generally not a good idea to give debt collectors free reign with your bank account and routing numbers.  It’s becoming more and more popular to pay debt collectors through money order or a third-party (like PayPal) as opposed to straight checks.  This is a wise approach.

Try to keep these handy tips in mind while you navigate the minefield that is modern debt repayment.  With luck and smarts, you’ll arrive in good shape on the other end!