What to Do When You Get a Call from a Debt Collector

Being in debt is not an easy experience; it affects you both physically and emotionally. It can be tough thinking every day about what you can do in order to catch up with your bills. It can even be worse if you have to deal with a debt collector. A call from a debt collector may be the last thing in your mind; therefore, it will catch you off guard. Without prior preparation, you might end up making promises that you cannot fulfill in the end. You might even get into a bad argument. Here is what to do when you get a call from a debt collector:

1. Remain level-headed: when you realize that it is a debt collector calling, do not panic. What you need to realize is that debt collectors usually work on commissions; therefore, they will do their best to get you to pay back the money, even if it means threatening you. Relax and remember that you have rights and speak to him as calmly as possible.

2. Make time to talk to them: Should the debt collector call when you are a little busy, it is good to tell them that you are not able to talk at that time and that they should call you back at a time that is best for you. Ensure that you are able to write down some information about them when they call as it might be useful later on.

3. Take notes: the collector will be making notes about your conversation. You should take notes as well. This might help a lot in case you are required to face the collector in court. Take notes about the date and time of the call, the name of the collector that called you, name and address of the collection agency, the amount of money mentioned as your debt, the name of the creditor and anything important you might have discussed in that call.

4. Do not be too quick to admit the debt. It is important to take time to determine if the debt is actually yours and that the collector has been given the mandate to collect on it. There are so many cases of collectors making up debts and collecting debts that have already passed the statute of limitations. You need to take time to verify all this, therefore do not admit to the debt.

5. Do not divulge information about your income, other debts and bills. Creditors will use anything they can get to push you to make an immediate payment. Besides, they can get such information from your credit report. If you are not in a position to pay the debt at that time, it is good not to hold any discussions at that time. Anything that you say to them may be used to collect the debt.

6. Make a quick decision after the call: once the call is ended, do not sit back and wait for the debtor to call again. You need to make a quick decision on what you should do about the call or even about the debt. If you are sure that the debt is not yours, dispute it using the debt validation process. If the collector harassed you during the call, you can get a cease and desist letter. If you are ready to pay off the debt, you can make a settlement offer or pay the debt in full. You might ignore the debt and wait for the collector to call again, although this is not a good solution.

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The Fine Print of Credit Repair Services

A bad credit score will deny you so many opportunities to better your life. This is because it will be hard to get a good loan with a poor credit score. However, there is always hope and this is in credit repair services. There are people who are there to help those who have a bad credit score better their credit in order to be able to get loans at better terms like everyone else. The problem is that not all credit repair services are genuine; there are credit repairers who are there to benefit from you other than to help you repair your credit.  Here are some tips to help you avoid scammers:

  1. Avoid all unrealistic promises. Any credit repairer promising you an overnight credit repair is not genuine at all. Other scammers promise to remove all the negative information from their clients’ reports, which is not possible either. Scammers will obviously use such promises to lure you to their trap, only to steal from you and disappear. Sometimes some of the promises they make are not even legal, therefore do not be led by high expectations.
  2. Do not be duped to pay upfront for any kind of credit repair service. The law requires credit repair companies to charge for services that have already been rendered. In most cases, scammers will ask you to pay upfront. When this happens, it is time to move on to a legitimate company.
  3. Understand that there is so much that you can do on your own for free to repair your credit. One always has an ability to repair their own mistakes. The only thing you might be required to pay for is the credit score information. Everything else will be free.

Once you get a good and legit credit repair company to help you out, you need to go through the contract in detail. Some companies will take advantage of customers who do not take time to read contracts before signing, and this could see you losing a lot of money. Ensure that the contract suits your needs before signing it. If there are recommendations you would have, have the company review the contract, then you can sign once you are fully satisfied. Here are some tips that can help you when reviewing a contract with a credit repair company:

  1. Ensure that the contract has full details of the credit repair agency including its name, address and phone numbers.
  2. Compare the services of more than two reputable credit repair agencies before committing to one. Always remember to go for the best; therefore go over their programs in detail. Take the contract that you will like the most and request more time to go over it.
  3. Make sure that you know about the total cost of the services in general before you sign the contract. This information should be provided in the contract. This way, you will not be asked to pay more after the services have been rendered.
  4. Check out how long the program will take to complete. It should be within your financial goals.
  5. If there are guarantees about the services being offered, make certain that they are included in the contract.
  6. Go through the outline of the services being offered and make sure that you understand everything. Ask any questions you might have before signing the contract
  7. Find out if there are any rules pertaining to cancelling the program before its expiration date. This could include information on termination of the program by the credit repair agency before the expiry date.
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