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How to Deal With Debt Collectors to Save Yourself From Stress

Jan 24, 2008
Dealing with debt can be amongst the most stressful things to deal with in life. The thought of debt collectors pounding at your door and phoning day and night is incredible intimidating and can make you feel ill with fear and worry. Thankfully you can protect yourself from debt collectors and there are laws in place so that you don't feel intimidated.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices says that debt collectors can't phone before 8am or after 9pm, they can't take your wages or harass you with non-stop phone calls.

Due to these practices you have a number of options. First and foremost, you don't actually have to take any debt collection calls. You can choose to use your answering machine to screen calls before you answer the phone. There are even call-blocking services for filtering them out completely.

If you do decide to pick up the phone simply and politely ask them not to call again. Legally they have to conform to your wishes if you send a 'cease and desist' letter. Legal action costs a lot of money so should be avoided if you can. There are other ways you can deal with them too.

At the end of the day, if you took out a debt then you should make arrangements to pay them. This may sound difficult if you are struggling with money however it's possible to negotiate a lower rate.

By keeping up with your re-payments the phone calls will end. Debt collectors are people too and are just doing their job. Once and agreement has been set up and you stick to it, they will simply leave you alone and target other debtors.

Start a diary and take notes of calls made and received along with the content of the conversation. If you decide to record the calls, make sure to tell the advisor what you are doing.

When debt collectors know the call is being recorded, more often than not they'll be on their "best behaviour." A diary or recording can become very important if you have negotiated a better deal on the debt.

It may not be apparent to you but most debt collection agencies can reduce the amount you owe. Because they receive a percentage of the collected amount, they may think it's worthwhile to have 50% of $700 than %100 of nothing.

When you make an agreement about payment, you should ensure that the collection agency doesn't add more black marks against your credit report. You should also be firm about them reporting quickly about payments you make and adjust the total amount due.

Make sure that all agreements are down in writing before sending large amounts of money. Send a small amount to show that you are committed to paying the debt however if you send too much they may not bother binding to your agreement.

Stay calm and patient throughout your conversations because you don't want to get on the wrong side of them and make matters worse.
About the Author
April often writes articles for the Daily Dosh blog which also has articles relating to credit reports and debt councelors .
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