When you have unpaid debts, chances are your creditor had assigned your debt to collection agencies, or sold it to debt buyers who take their chance at collecting the amount you owed your original creditor. Your creditor might have already exhausted all their means to collect the debt yet nothing worked out so they gave up and sold the account at a price that allows debt buyers to make profit if they successfully collect the debt. Debt collectors work with debt buyers and they are totally legal. However, there are ways in which debt collectors cross the line to what may be considered unacceptable by the law set by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which protects consumers’ rights as far as debt collection is concerned.
Here are some debt collection tactics that you should not fall prey into.
Scaring you about getting jailed and using violent threats
This is an old song that should never work anymore yet some debtors still fall prey into this scare talk. No one can get jailed because of unpaid debt. And if ever there is, there has to be a due process first; it’s not like having a bunch of policemen just barge in through your property and take you in.
In any case, don’t let this kind of talk scare you. Instead, ask the debt collector for proof that the debt is actually yours in the form of debt validation letter. In fact, it’s the debt collector’s duty to send you a written validation of debt within 5 days of contactnig you. You need to verify first if the debt is actually yours rather than owning up the debt right away just because you panicked at the thought of being behind bars. Once you admit that the debt is yours even if you are not one hundred percent sure, it will be quite hard to make a debt collector get off your back.
If they use violent threats and abusive words, remember that all these are against the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and you have the right to sue them for such practices.
Misrepresentation or deception
Debt collectors may not claim to be anyone else such as police officers, attorneys or even credit reporting agencies if they are not. They may not walk up into your house, knock on your door flashing false badges and claim as authorities. These are deceptions meant to scare you into paying your debt. Debt collectors are debt collectors. They earn from commissions when they collect your debt yet some of them try too hard and wind up messing with what’s allowed by the law. Again, stay calm with the knowledge that you have rights as a consumer.
Letting other people know about your debt
Debt should be treated as a private information. Debt collectors are prohibited from disclosing your debts to anyone, expect to authorized individuals such as your attorney, or anyone else for whom you give your permission to disclose. They may not use words or symbols in their written communication that will reveal that they are debt collectors. Doing so would be putting pressure on the debtor, especially when a third party becomes aware about the debt.
These are just some of the dirty tactics that debt collectors use to collect debts. Don’t be a victim. Know your right and what you can do to counter these unfair practices.