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Collection Deal with Creditors

If you default on bills and have found yourself in debt collections, you’ll be dealing with creditors and collection agencies frequently. You should prepare yourself as much as possible, so that you can handle these never-ending telephone calls as professionally and efficiently as possible.

First, know what you owe, and what you can afford to pay. Request copies of your free annual credit reports, and make sure everything is accurate. Go through your personal budget carefully, and find out how much money you have available to pay your bills.

Next, understand your consumer rights. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), you have protection against any kind of harassment. Creditors and collection agents are also required to call within certain hours. Understanding the rules can make sure you aren’t being inappropriately stressed.

Be proactive with your creditors, and call them before they call you. First, ask for written proof that you do indeed owe the debt. Then, ask them if it’s possible to set up a payment plan, or to be placed in their hardship program. When you do speak with collections agents, be honest about what you can afford to pay. Don’t get talked into signing up for something that will not work for you long-term, such as electronic funds transfer. If you do agree to something, you’ll need to follow through with it, so make sure you are prepared to agree to things that you are able to comply with.

To stop phone calls from collectors, you can send them a letter informing them that you are aware of the FDCPA and this provision of the law allowing you to request that the phone calls stop. Be sure to send your letter by certified mail, return receipt requested, so you have proof it was received. Keep a copy of the letter for your files. Please be aware that stopping the calls does not relieve you of your responsibility. You will still owe the money and the company may pursue additional collection efforts.

Please be aware that taking this action does not alleviate you of your responsibility for the debt. In some cases, sending a cease and desist letter can actually escalate the collection process.