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What To Do When A Collecting Agency Is Calling You

Aug 17, 2007
You were enjoying a respite from the hazards of work when one day the phone rings. You answer, and on the other line, a man introduces himself as a collector - collecting for a certain company.

What does one do when being called by a collector? The most important thing to do is to be calm - do not throw a fit or berate the other person for doing what he is supposed to do. At all cost do not give way to anger; else you might forget very important information.

Information is vital, and before offering your information, inquire first of the other person. Verify the name, address, and phone number of the company the agent is collecting for, and get the exact amount the company claims that you owe. Note that though the agent is asking you to pay an outstanding debt, this does not give him the license to speak abusively or harass you. He may not use obscene languages, affront your person or occupation, or question your decisions that led to your account being placed in their collection agency. Contacting you at odd hours - before 8:00 AM or after 9:00 PM - also constitutes harassment.

Within 5 days of initial contact, the debt collector of the particular collecting agency in charge of your case must post a written notice, stating in writing the amount of debt owed, the name of the creditor where the money is owed, and what actions are to be undertaken if you wish to dispute the debt, or if you do not owe the money.

If you do not owe part of or all of the money being collected, you may request that the collecting agency verify the debt. Notify the collector within 30 days of initial contact if you wish to dispute a debt - pen a letter of explanation on why you do not owe the stated debt and a request of verification (i.e. If you signed a loan agreement, a copy of the document may be requested). The collection agency must not contact you again, unless a proof of debt has been provided.
If there is no reason for disputing, and it is in fact true that you owe a debt, the next logical step is to pay. Now if you simply cannot afford to pay the debt in full, try to formulate a feasible system of specific but regular payments.

Provide evidence of your current dire financial straits, and be sure that your proposed payments are in amounts that you can afford. Contact both creditor and collecting agency through posts with your payment proposal, and you may add the proposed payment in your post to show your sincerity in paying off your debt. If the collector approves of your payment plan, it is of the utmost importance to never miss a payment.

Keep in mind, though, that once an account goes into default, they may demand any amount up to the full payment of the debt. They are in no way obliged to accept any offer you make.
About the Author
Tristan Andrews writes useful articles about debt collection agencies. Find out how using a collection agency can expand your financial horizons at http://www.collectionagencyservices.net
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