|Get it in Writing|
|Don’t assume it’s really your debt frequently debt collection agencies look for names in the phone book. Make sure that it really is your debt and they can prove it before doing anything else, this reduces the chances of fraud. The best part is that it really annoys them, even if you know that it’s yours it will buy you time.||1|
|Be Careful on the Phone|
|By law debt collection companies cannot discuss your debt with roommates and frequently with spouses. Try answering the phone in a made up voice, have fun this is your telephone you have your crank call people calling you. By admitting to a debt on the phone that can be used against you in court so say as little as possible.||2|
|They Prey on the Stupid|
Collection agencies typically have a high turnover of commission hungry males who will resort to pretty much anything. There are honest collectors but they are few and far between. "You don’t threaten the smart ones. You pick and choose your victims for lack of a better term," says Michael Flannagan, a former debt collection supervisor in Tacoma, Wash. "We rely on the ignorance of the debtor."
|Beware of Quick Fixes|
In most cases even by paying a collection debt it stays on your credit report, although marked as paid. There is a cottage industry of scam businesses that offer to get you into out of debt. If you are in debt it’s serious and they frequently won’t settle for less than 100%.
|Know Your Rights|
The Federal Trade Commission gets more consumer complaints about debt collectors than about any other industry. Americans report being harassed, threatened, even coerced into paying debts that aren’t their own. You do have rights within the fair debt collections act including:
|Legal to Tape Calls in Most States|
If there is a lawsuit or complaint filed having a recording can be crucial. Here is a list of states where you can secretly record your phone calls. Remember be nice, don’t give up any information (they aren’t the police and you don’t have to answer anything) and keep asking for things in writing – they’ll get mad and if nothing else you can post on YouTube
|Check the Expiration Date|
|If a debt is older than seven years you don’t have to pay it but collectors can still call and ask you to. This expired debt is called zombie debt and collectors actually pay for one cent on the dollar. Collectors will call and make it sound like you need to pay this just like it’s a valid debt. Be careful though debts can be re filed, and just because it’s older than seven years does not always mean that it’s expired. If you have a ton of debt you might want to consider that seven year vacation in Paraguay though…||7|
|Ignoring Won’t Make Debt go Away|
You can ignore them but if they file in court and you don’t show up they will win all the time. This is serious and most tactics will only delay the inevitable. If the debt still belongs to the original creditor, a third-party collection agency cannot file a lawsuit. But if the balance is large, the debtor is being resistant, and if there are indications that the debtor has vulnerable assets, the agency may send the account back to the creditor with a recommendation to sue. Each creditor has its own criteria for the decision; for example, the amount must be substantial (often $1500 or more, at the very least.)
|You Can Make Them Stop Calling You|
|Like most relationships the collector will stop calling you if you write a breakup letter to them. It’s actually one of your rights under the Fair Collection Act. Bud Hibbs has a cease communications letter that is will stop the phone calls. The debt won’t go away but the phone calls legally have to stop.||9|
|When to Get a Lawyer|
If your collector has violated your rights you should contact your state Attorney General’s office and the FTC 1-877-FTC-HELP. You have the right to sue them within one year of the violation – those recordings could make you cash. If they sue you representing yourself is OK depending on how much money you have to lose.
There are plenty of horrible Collection Agencies out there, but there are good ones too. A Collection Agency is out there to make money off debt that is normally 6 months overdue from a company so agreeing to payments is better if you can afford to because collection agencies are less likely to.
Or you can always resort to these un recommended, stupid and totally illegal debt escape plans:
- Flee the country: Countries like Paraguay will only extradite criminals wanted for murder, and the weather is fabulous.
- Go off the grid: Some might call it homeless but think of yourself as David Carradine from Kung Fu wandering America righting wrongs or at least waiting for debts to expire.
- Make a new identity: Nearly a million illegal aliens make up fake identities, simply follow the illegal herd to debt freedom.
- Lottery Hail Mary: Cash in every cent you have, your car and eBay every belonging for one last shot at the lottery or any good betting vibe you have. You might win and have a fortune and worst case you have nothing to go after and have become judgment proof!
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