How do You Protect Yourself Against Debt Collectors?

Anyone who has ever been in debt and missed a payment or two understand debt collections. The first debt collectors are those who work for the lending company and may be accounts receivables. Most of the time they call to give us a gentle reminder we are behind on our bills. If you have missed multiple debt payments your account may be sold to a professional collections agency after the first company has written off the loss.

The collection agencies are usually licensed to do business by the owner of the company. Debt collectors do not have to have a certain level of education or experience to work for a collection agency. They are normally trained by company representatives in various collection tactics to collect by telephone or mail. Although most collection agencies have legal firms on their payroll, they normally only use lawsuits as a last resort to collect debt. Persistence can be less expensive than filing a lawsuit and in many cases, the debt collectors persistence borderlines on harassment. So, how do you protect yourself against debt collector harassment?

In an attempt to regulate the collections industry, Congress passed the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) in 1978 as Title VIII of the Consumer Protection Act. Its purposes was to eliminate abusive debt collection practices, to promote fair debt collection, and to provide consumers with an avenue for disputing and obtaining validation of debt information to ensure the information’s accuracy.

Some people believe that the ultimate weapon against some of the new collection agencies is debt validation. Debt validation allows debtors, who are confronted by a collection agency for collections, to validate the debt claims being made by the agency. That means you have the right to know several things about the debt you allegedly owe: what legal documents the agency has for collecting the debts, what amount the original debt was being claimed and the specific interest and fees they are claiming, whether any of these debts including interest and fees are legitimate, where the debt is in the accounting of the claim, and who you actually owe the debt to.

If a collection agency refuses to provide you with this information or cannot provide you with the information, there is a good chance a judge will dismiss a lawsuit on a debt claim against you. That means you may not owe the debt. Without a judgement against you, a collection agency has very little leverage in debt collection.

Another way to protect yourself against debt collectors is to send them a cease and desist letter as described in the FDCPA. This tool is effective for getting collection agency to stop contacting you by telephone or mail. If they fail to do so and you can prove it, they may have to pay you damages, legal fees, and court costs.

Finally, one of the best ways to protect yourself against debt collectors is through bankruptcy. The moment you file a bankruptcy, a judge will order all collecting actions to cease, an important feature called the automatic stay. The automatic stay, applicable to all types of bankruptcy filings, stops certain lawsuits, foreclosures, utility shut-offs, evictions, repossessions, garnishments, attachments, and debt collection harassment.

If you need relief from the stress of debt and you live in or around the metropolitan areas of Harrisburg, Lebanon, or Carlisle, Pennsylvania, contact us at .We will help you find a bankruptcy attorney in your area who can answer your bankruptcy questions.

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