Dealing With Debt Collectors

About.com is a great resource for information of all kind. Today I found “Top 9 Tips for [tag]Dealing With Debt Collectors[/tag] and [tag]Collection Agencies[/tag]”

  1. Number one, knowing your rights!
  2. Ask questions about the debt and the collection agency
  3. Detailing your steps and interactions

Read the other 6 tips here.

The most important take away I from this list was don’t ignore the problem. It will not go away. [tag]Dealing with debt[/tag] collectors is hard. No doubt about that! Take it one step at a time and know your rights.

Don't mess with the IRS

A very good friend of mine owes some back taxes… With the announcement that the IRS will now use private debt collection agencies, gives my friend a real incentive to start to pay it off.

If anyone else is in the same boat and feel it’s time to get rid of the IRS, then check out this blog post on about.com regarding how spot fraud and see IRS’s tips on protecting consumers…

Don’t Get Scammed By Debt Collectors Claiming to Be Collecting for the IRSToday is the day the IRS’ program to refer collection of back taxes to private 3rd party debt collectors will kick off, and with that kick off will come an increase in scams and phishing attacks from people pretending to be collecting on behalf of the IRS.To combat this possibility of fraud, the IRS has published some simple tips to help protect consumers from these types of scams.

Credit/Debt Management – Tools and Advice for Managing Credit and Debt

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A stupid Question on Yahoo answers

whats the best way to deal with a collections agency ?

Yahoo! Answers – whats the best way to deal with a collections agency ?

Answer: PAY YOUR BILLS!!!

Seems simple right? But in all honesty if you can’t pay your bills you do have rights to not be harassed by bill collectors. Check out our section on Credit agencies: collection-agency-harassment

And yes I am sorry for calling this person stupid! :)

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IRS uses private debt collectors

The AP reports The IRS will use private debt collectors to get back taxes. Isn’t that the job of the federal governement? Anyway we should keep an eye on this so the recovery tactics do not get out of hand.

Internal Revenue Service prepares to implement a new program that sends private debt collection agencies after delinquent taxpayers, critics — including several lawmakers and the employee union at the Treasury Department — are gearing up to protest it.Opponents say that the IRS will pay private debt collectors more to do what government-paid employees could do and that the agency is not doing enough to let the public know about the new program, set to launch in early September.

Associated Press Business News: IRS Moves Ahead on Debt-Collection Plan – MSN Money

 

 

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what a bunch of sharks

This is just a snippet of what collection agencies will do. You should go to the link below and find out more. Knowledge is power and from the looks of it we need all the help from companies like CAMCO.

The FTC charged that as much as 80% of the money collected by Capital Acquisitions and Management (CAMCO), a large debt-collection firm, came “from consumers who never owed the original debt in the first place.” These consumers typically paid the company to stop its harassment of themselves, their families, their friends and their co-workers. CAMCO agreed to a $300,000 civil penalty in March 2004, but in the ensuing eight months the problems continued. The FTC received more than 2,000 additional consumer complaints about the company — three times more than the agency received in the two years prior to the settlement. The FTC eventually succeeded in shutting CAMCO down.

Sleazy new debt collector tactics – MSN Money

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Zombie debt collectors

What the heck is Zombie debt?

I found this nice article on MSN money. A friend of mine came over the other day and asked me about a letter they had received about a debt that was over 7 years old. The letter said the company would give a visa card to my friend for the amount of the debt owed over 7 years ago. If my friend paid it off then they would clear up her credit. Sounded a lot like what Liz Pulliam is talking about.

There’s money in old debt decade ago, most people who reneged on debts could rest easy after several years passed, since few creditors tried to collect on old bills, particularly for small amounts.Today, however, collecting on old debts is a rapidly expanding industry. Aggressive companies can buy charged-off credit card accounts from the original lenders for pennies on the dollar. Then, they use credit scoring and other new technologies to identify which debtors are most likely to pay. The players in this “junk debt” market range from fly-by-night outfits to well-established companies funded by Wall Street investors.

Zombie debt collectors dig up your old mistakes – MSN Money

Last year, more than $75 billion in old debts were sold. So I think we may be seeing the start of a new industry which is not rooted in law, so be very careful.

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Credit Card Debt Statute Of Limitation


Credit Card Debt Statute Of Limitation – What You Should Know

Credit Card Debt Statute Of Limitation – What You Should Know
By Delia Galley

Each state has a statute of limitations on old credit card debts. The statute of limitations refers to the period after which, creditors cannot sue you to collect the debt. The length of time is calculated from your last payment date or last activity date (this is when you last used the card).

Refer to the old debts statute of limitations chart, which details the statute of limitations by Oral Contracts, Promissory Notes, Written Contracts and Open-Ended Accounts. Note that the transient nature of state legislature requires you to verify the statute of limitations period with your State Attorney’s office. For more information go to www.naag.org.

In the past 10 years, a growing trend has ensued, where aggressive debt collectors buy old debt accounts and actively pursue consumers to collect the debt, even though the statute of limitations has past. They purchase these accounts for pennies and hope that you will pay up. Even if, you pay $1 on the account – they make a good profit.

This is a violation of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act. Some creditors even lie and say that the statute of limitations starts from the day that they purchased the debt account. These companies are so bold that some of them will threaten to sue you and in fact proceed with the court case – don’t give in. Others will harass you day and night, use profanity or promise to erase negative marks off your credit repot, if you send in a minimal payment.

If you find yourself in this situation here are a few tips on what to do:

  • Do not send in a payment – if the statute of limitations is past in your state. Doing so, will make your delinquency look recent. It will also give the debt collectors the idea that you are an easy target and they may attack you on other fronts.

  • Keep an eye on your credit report to make sure that they are not reporting negative information about you. Your old debt account should not be reflected on your credit report since the statute of limitations is past. If you find that they are reporting the information, take corrective action immediately and fix any errors.

  • If possible, ignore all contact with the debt collection agency. Do not accept their phone calls. If they send you notices in the mail, you will want to keep these as proof of their harassment.

  • The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act indicates that there are certain things that creditors cannot do in their attempt to collect debt. Go to www.poorcreditgenie.com/answers.html for a list in plain speak. For a complete list, go to www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/credit/fdc.htm.

  • Verify the statute of limitations information with your State Attorney’s office and solicit further advice on how to navigate your situation.
  • The author is the owner of the information-rich website http://www.poorcreditgenie.com – a “Drudge Report” of credit. The website offers free advice on how to rebuild credit and manage debt. The site also features numerous articles and news stories on credit reports, credit cards and bankruptcy.

    Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/


    Stopping Collection Agency Harassment


    Stopping Collection Agency Harassment – Your Rights

    Stopping Collection Agency Harassment – Your Rights
    By Toni Phelps

    The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act was passed in 1977 to protect you from abusive debt collectors. Here are rules a third-party debt collector must follow:

    Contacting a debtor. A collector may contact you in person, by mail, telephone, telegram or fax. However, a debt collector may not contact you at inconvenient times or places, such as before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m., unless you agree. A debt collector also may not contact you at work if the collector knows your employer disapproves of such contacts. Tip: If a debt collector phones you at work, inform your boss that it is disrupting your performance, and have your boss tell the collector to stop calling you at work. Drawback: If your boss learns of your debt problems, it may interfere with your promotional abilities.

    Contacting a third party about your debt. If you have an attorney, the debt collector must contact the attorney rather than you. If you don’t have an attorney, a collector may contact other people but only to find out where you live, what your phone number is and where you work. Collectors usually are prohibited from contacting such third parties more than once. In most cases the collector may not tell anyone other than you and your attorney that you owe money.

    Giving written notice. Within five days after you are first contacted, the collector must send you a written notice telling you the amount of money you owe, the name of the creditor to whom you owe the money and what action to take if you believe you do not owe the money. Tip: Once you receive the letter, you may want to attempt a settlement with the creditor or the collection agency. A collections agency is always authorized to take something less than 100 percent, usually 50 to 60 percent. Here are tips on how to proceed:

    – Whether you pay in full, negotiate for a percentage of the debt or accept a payment plan, get everything in writing before you give them any money.

    – Make them stipulate they will not report anything negative to the credit bureaus regarding the debt. And have your original creditor sign off on the deal. A collection agency could offer to settle a $1,000 credit card bill for just $500. But once they’re paid, the original creditor can still come after you for the other $500.

    – If you negotiate a settlement for less than you owe, you could end up paying taxes on the unpaid portion. But if the unpaid amount is less than $600, a collection agency does not have to report it to the IRS. Make this part of your written agreement.

    – Always pay with paper checks, not electronic bank drafts by phone or debit cards. It’s to your advantage to have a physical record that you’ve paid, plus you control exactly what you’re paying and when.

    – Be sure to get something in writing when the debt is paid. That way, if it does come up on your credit report, you have something to prove it was paid.

    When a consumer doesn’t owe the money. A collector may not contact you if within 30 days after you receive the written notice, you send the collection agency a letter stating you do not owe money. However, a collector can renew collection activities if you are sent proof of the debt, such as a copy of a bill for the amount owed.

    No harassment. Debt collectors may not harass, oppress or abuse you or any third party they contact. They cannot:
    – Threaten violence or harm.
    – Use obscene or profane language.
    – Repeatedly use the telephone to annoy someone.
    – Lie.
    – Use any false or misleading statements when collecting a debt.
    – Falsely imply that they are attorneys or government representatives.
    – Falsely imply that you have committed a crime.
    – Falsely represent they operate or work for a credit bureau.
    – Misrepresent the amount of your debt.
    – Give false credit information about you to anyone, including a credit bureau.
    – Send you anything that looks like an official document from a court or government agency when it is not.
    – Use a false name.

    Debt collectors may not state that:
    – You will be arrested if you do not pay your debt.
    – They will seize, garnish, attach or sell your property or wages unless the collection agency or creditor intends to do so and it is legal to do so.
    – Actions, such as a lawsuit, will be taken against you when such action legally may not be taken or when they do not intend to take such action.

    A debt collector may not engage in unfair practices when they try to collect a debt from you. They cannot:
    – Collect any amount greater than your debt, unless your state law permits such a charge.
    – Deposit a postdated check prematurely.
    – Use deception to make you accept collect calls or pay for telegrams.
    – Take or threaten to take your property unless this can be done legally.

    Having bad debt collection harassment? Here are some extreme steps you may decide to take:

    1: Don’t take the calls. You can hang up, screen calls or stop them from calling entirely with what’s known as a “cease and desist letter.” If you send a “cease and desist,” include your name, address and account number, and tell the company “do not contact me further about this debt.” Send the letter certified so that you have proof the company received it. But this move doesn’t cancel your debt. The original creditor or the collection agency may decide to sue, or the creditor can simply hire another third-party collector.

    2: Keep a diary. If you do take the calls, write everything down: dates, times, names and what is said. If it’s legal in your state, tape the exchange. And if you tell them you’re taping the call; whether you are or not, they’ll be more likely to behave.

    3: Negotiate to pay the debt. Once a debt goes to collections, you may be able to work out a deal to pay less than the full amount.

    4: Understand the laws in your state. Garnishment, lawsuits and property seizure are illegal in some places, which gives you a little more leverage to work out a deal. To learn what is and isn’t allowed, call your state Attorney General’s office or the state consumer protection office.

    But third party collectors have a choice: they can operate under the laws of your state or those of the state where the debt originated, usually interpreted as where you were living when you opened the account. Also, time may have run out on the debt. While there is no federal statute of limitations on debts, most states limit the amount of time a creditor has to collect a debt. However, that deadline varies from state to state. There is also a question of which state’s rules govern the transaction, yours or the creditor’s. That’s a very gray area. Check with your local state authority or an attorney in your state who specializes in this kind of law.

    5: File a complaint. If you suspect that a collection agency has crossed the line, call the FTC and your state’s governing office and file complaints. (Yet another reason it’s good to keep a written or tape recorded diary.)

    6: Sue. If a third-party collection agency violates your rights, you can sue for actual damages and punitive damages, as well as attorneys’ fees and court costs.

    Article by Toni Phelps, with resources from Credit
    Federal’s Debt Negotiators
    and the Federal Trade Commission

    Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/