How to deal with collection agencies

Knowing your rights is very important

Credit collection companies make money only when you begin paying off old debt. However, not all collection agencies operate within the guidelines set up by the Fair Debt Collection laws that protect consumers.
Collection agencies will generally call you one (or more) times daily, and this practice borders on harassment. You have every right as a consumer to protect yourself from this type of practice. You should write to collection agencies and request they not contact you except in writing.
Collection agencies do not want you to know what rights are afforded you as a debtor. Many will use fear tactics including threatening legal action, threatening jail time and threatening to have your wages garnished.
Make sure that you understand your rights under the Fair Debt Collection rules. Individual states may also offer additional protection to consumers. Before you return a telephone call to a credit
collection agency, make sure that you fully understand your rights under both your individual state laws and federal law

Protect yourself at all times

There are some things you can do to protect yourself from unscrupulous debt collection processes. Take these simple steps to start covering yourself today.
Order your credit report
At least one time annually, you should order your credit report. Do not pay for this report, simply write to the credit reporting agencies and request it. Another option is to order these reports online. Do not pay to order your report annually, you can get them free.
Review your credit reports for accuracy
Review your credit reports for accuracy; keep in mind a lender will use this information to approve or reject your loan applications. Make note of any items that are incorrect and make sure that your closed accounts reflect as closed. Make note of any discrepancies you find in your report.

Phone calls that never end

If you are receiving calls from creditors
If you are receiving telephone calls from creditors or collection agencies, you must request that they not contact you in writing. Make a note of the agency (or creditor) and the date of your request. Depending on your individual states laws, you may be able to file a lawsuit if
they do not stop contacting you.
Debt collection statute of limitations
Find out if your state has a statute of limitation on uncollected debts. Most states put some restrictions on how long a debt may be pursued. Collection agencies often try to trap you into paying a small amount on a debt that is about to expire negating your rights under these statutes.

Know how to help yourself

Correct inaccurate information
If you have found inaccurate information on your credit report, you must take the steps necessary to report the inaccuracy. Make copies of documents (never send originals) to the creditor as well as the credit bureaus (all three) with a copy of the page of your credit report.
Ask that it be corrected and request an updated copy of your credit report showing the correction.
Monitor your credit annually
Your credit report should be monitored annually. Since you can request an annual update, you should review it for outdated or incorrect information each year. This can help guarantee that all information is accurate and updated.
Rebuild your credit yourself
If you are having credit issues, there is no magic bullet for correction. You can rebuild your credit yourself by paying your bills on time. If you are struggling to pay your bills on time search for free or low cost credit counseling services in your area.

Credit reporting agencies

P.O. Box 740256
Atlanta, Georgia 30374
P.O. Box 9554
Allen, Texas 75013
P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92834

Helpful Hints

Things Needed

Credit report (free annually)Time to write lettersUnderstanding of your rightsYour individual state laws regarding debt collection

Tips & Warnings

You are entitled to one FREE credit report annually.Debt collectors may not give false credit information about you to anyone.Debt Collectors may not send you anything that looks like an official document.Debt Collectors may not use a false company name.You have the right to request to not be called by Credit Collection Agencies.

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