Are bill collectors calling you constantly? Are they harassing you incessantly? If so, here are some tactics to negotiate debt settlement collections with bill collectors that may come in handy.
Know Your Rights Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
Before you negotiate debt settlement with debt collectors you need to understand your rights first. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), there are certain standards and regulations bill collectors must follow when pursuing payment of debts.
“The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is the federal law that dictates how and when a debt collector may contact you. A debt collector may not call you before 8 a.m., after 9 p.m., or while you’re at work if the collector knows that your employer doesn’t approve of the calls. Collectors may not harass you, lie, or use unfair practices when they try to collect a debt. And they must honor a written request from you to stop further contact.”
Furthermore, the FTC states that: “You can stop a debt collector from contacting you by writing a letter to the collector telling them to stop. Once the collector receives your letter, they may not contact you again except to say there will be no further contact or to notify you that the debt collector or the creditor intends to take some specific action. Please note, however, that sending such a letter to a collector does not make the debt go away if you actually owe it. You could still be sued by the debt collector or your original creditor.”
Once you understand your rights make a list of all your debts. Determine, based on your income and expenses, how much you can afford each month. As long as you pay a minimum of $1.00, the bill collector cannot put your account into a third-party debt collection agency.
Things to Consider When You Try to Negotiate Debt Settlement
1. The bill collectors’ only job is to collect money. They don’t care what your circumstances are; so do not even attempt to explain.
2. Do not offer any personal information. They can use the information to track you down.
3. They will try to intimidate you; do not fall for it.
4. Stay calm, cool, and collected.
5. Record the conversations so that in the event they cross the line, you can send the recordings to a Federal agency.
6. Write down the name of the person who called, the time, and the date. Take notes as well.
7. Send payments by money order, with return receipt requested. This way you have proof of payment.
8. Send a letter, along with payment, stating the amount enclosed and that you have now been released from all pending charges. Also cc on the bottom of the letter that you are sending a copy to the FTC and your lawyer, if applicable.
9. Check your credit report to make sure that it states that payment has been made.
So the more you know about your rights as well as how the debt collection process works, the better you will be able to negotiate debt settlement with debt collection agencies.