This is the first of a two-part feature from the Law Offices of Howard D. Silver on fighting back against debt collection agencies that practice unfair tactics. For many consumers, being targeted by unfair debt collection tactics can leave them feeling confused and frightened. However, it is important to understand that you can fight back against these tactics. If you have been targeted by collectors who are using unlawful tactics and violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), consider the following options from MSN.com
Call Them Before They Call You
Calling the debt collector yourself will put you in a different mindset and in a position of greater authority, rather than going on the defensive after being called. This will help you be prepared to talk to the collector and pursue a strategy concerning your debt.
Find Out More about Them
You may have never heard of the company that is contacting you about a debt. When speaking to a representative, ask for their website, address, and contact information. Then investigate them to see if they are a legitimate business. Call the Better Business Bureau concerning their status and the state attorney general’s office to find out if they can legally collect in your state.
Make Them Validate the Debt
Under the FDCPA, you have the right to ask a collector to validate a debt. This will make them prove how the debt was collected and why you owe money. If the company refuses to validate, they may be breaking the law.
Keep Your Emotions in Check
Prepare yourself for the stress of debt collection and possible illegal tactics. Understand the feelings of guilt, obligation, embarrassment, and fear so that they do not cause you to make a rash decision. Instead, stay level headed and focus on the business aspect of your interactions. Check back for our second entry covering more actions that you can take to protect yourself.