When you get a call from a debt collector, it can be a daunting and even scary experience. You may not know what to say or how to respond. However, it’s important to remember that you have rights and that the debt collector must abide by certain rules set by your government.
50 Questions you can ask a debt collector to better understand your situation and protect your rights:
- What is the name of the original creditor?
- What is the name of the company you represent?
- How can I verify that you are a legitimate debt collector?
- Are you a licensed collection agency in my state?
- If you are not licensed in my state, are you legally authorized to collect money from me?
- How can I contact you?
- Are you calling me for a personal debt or a business debt?
- How much money is owed?
- When did the debt arise?
- Can you provide proof of the debt?
- Can you provide a copy of the original contract or agreement?
- What type of debt is involved? (e.g. credit card, health insurance, etc.)
- When did the debt first become delinquent?
- How can the debt be paid?
- Is there flexibility in the payment terms?
- When was the last payment made to this account?
- Can the debt be negotiated?
- What is your policy on negotiating with consumers to settle debts?
- What are my rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act?
- Have you sent me a written notice stating the debt and my rights under the Act?
- Have you contacted my attorney or any other third party regarding this debt?
- Can you please send me a detailed breakdown of the costs?
- Can you provide me with written information about the debt?
- Are you willing to stop all communication with me if I request it in writing?
- Do I have to pay the entire debt at once or can I pay in installments?
- Can I set up a payment plan?
- What happens if I make a partial payment on my debt?
- Are there any fees associated with paying off the debt?
- What is the statute of limitations on the debt?
- How much time do I have before I have to pay the debt?
- How long will this debt appear on my credit report?
- Will you remove the negative information from my credit report if I pay the debt in full?
- How long will it take to remove the negative information from my credit report?
- Will paying off the debt improve my credit score?
- What will happen if I do not pay the debt?
- Can my employer fire me if I do not pay the debt?
- Can my wages be garnished if I do not pay the debt?
- Can I be sued if I do not pay the debt?
- What happens if I file for bankruptcy?
- Are you allowed to call me outside of certain hours?
- Are you allowed to call me at work?
- Are you allowed to contact my family or friends about my debts?
- Will you agree not to contact me outside normal business hours?
- Will you agree not to contact me at work?
- Am I allowed to request that all communication with me be in writing and not by telephone?
- What happens if I ignore calls or letters from the collection agency?
- Can I dispute this debt? If so, how can I do that?
- If I dispute this debt, are you allowed to continue trying to collect it from me until the debt is paid?
- How did you come into possession of my contact information?
- Can I demand that you stop contacting me?
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it possible to negotiate with a debt collector?
Debt collectors are people too and they understand that sometimes people have financial difficulties. If you cannot afford to pay a debt collector the amount they are asking for, you can negotiate a payment plan with them. Explain your situation and see if they are willing to work with you. Often, debt collectors will be willing to work with you if you can show that you are serious about making the payments.
What do you need to know before paying a debt collector?
If you are negotiating a payment plan or settlement agreement with a debt collector, it is important to understand your rights and the potential consequences of default. You should also be aware of the collector’s collection practices and what actions it may take if you fail to make a payment. Before you make any payments, be sure to get a written agreement that outlines all the terms of the agreement.
Do debt collectors eventually give up?
Debt collectors will often continue to try to get money from a debtor even when it is clear that the person does not have the funds to pay. They may call repeatedly, send letters, or even show up at the debtor’s home or workplace. Sometimes, however, a debt collector gives up. They may stop trying to contact the person if they believe they can not get money from them or if the person has filed for bankruptcy.
Being contacted by a debt collector can be very stressful, but it is important to remember that you have rights and that there are people who can help you through this process.
If you have questions about your situation, do not hesitate to ask a debt collector for more information or clarification. And if you believe your rights are being violated, do not hesitate to report it so appropriate action can be taken.
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