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Your Rights as a Consumer When Faced with Debt Collections

While nobody wants to get into debt, sometimes life gets in the way and we have to take out loans. That could be for a car, medical bills, a house, or any number of smaller items. The fact is that sometimes we get in over our heads and the debt piles up. If your bill goes too long without being paid, the creditor may send you to collections. Being collected upon is no fun, but you do have rights. One of those rights is to hire a debt collections attorney to represent you against debt collectors.

Debt Collectors

There are a number of different collectors out there. While most are honest and follow what the law has to say, there are some who decide money is more important and they do whatever they can to collect what you may owe. Here’s how it works:

You owe money to a creditor but fall behind on your payments. After trying to collect on their own, they sell the debt to a third party. Suppose you owe $1,000; they may sell this debt to another collector for $700.

The collector now comes after you for payment. You say you are unable to pay, so they offer to let you pay just $900 on your debt. Many people will like the idea of saving 10% so they will pay back only $900, and the collector will profit $200.

Your Rights as a Consumer

If only it were as simple as paying less than you owe on the debt (which by-the-way will ruin your credit, so don’t count on that as an easy way to get out of debt). Instead most people who can’t pay their $1,000 bill can’t pay $900. So debt collectors may resort to breaking some of these rules:

• Collectors may only contact you between 8am and 9pm
• Collectors may not harass you or threaten you
• Collectors must send, in writing, verification of your debt
• Collectors must stop all communication if you ask them to (in writing)
• Collectors must not contact you after they have been informed you are working with an attorney, all future contact goes through the attorney’s office
• Collectors may not make false claims, statements, or disparaging remarks
• Collectors may not discuss your debt with anyone other than yourself (unless you have hired an attorney)

There are some debt collectors out there who entirely disregard the law, and will break these rules (and many more, see all of them on the FTC website). They will contact you throughout the day and night, show up at your place of employment, call you names and use vulgar language, and even threaten to have you arrested if you don’t pay (this isn’t the 18th century, we no longer have debtor’s prisons).

Hire a Debt Collections Attorney

Being in debt is a terrible feeling. Being in debt and unable to pay is even worse. Add to that the fact that some debt collectors will try to make your life miserable in order to make few bucks for themselves, and your life has become a nightmare. If you are being harassed by a debt collector, you have recourse. Don’t just take the abuse, but hire a debt collections attorney to help you fight back against these unscrupulous collectors.

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