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How to respond to debt collectors

On Behalf of | Apr 4, 2023 | Collections Defense

No one enjoys getting phone calls from debt collectors. Unfortunately for many people in Illinois, those anxiety-inducing calls are a regular part of their weekly routine. While debt collectors must follow certain laws, there are certain tips that you should remember when responding to them.

Don’t hit “ignore”

“Out of sight, out of mind” doesn’t apply to credit issues. Ignoring calls and letters from debt collectors doesn’t make the problem go away. In fact, ignoring them often leads to debt collectors becoming more aggressive.

Communicate in writing

Even if the debt collector begins by contacting you by phone, request that future correspondence occur in writing. Responding in writing prevents you from saying anything that you will regret or committing to repayments that you can’t live up to. Having a paper trail ensures that you can dispute any mistakes that take place.

Filing disputes

Millions of Americans deal with bad credit scores because of mistakes on their credit reports. When you have a written copy of the debt collector’s letter, you can review it thoroughly. You have access to legal means of disputing debts.

Demand validation

According to the Fair Debt Collections Act (FDCA), debt collectors must provide written proof of the debt within five days of making initial contact with you. This written validation should include verifiable proof of the debt owed, the debt collection company, and more.

Try to negotiate

Many people with debt become so scared of the calls and letters that they fail to realize that they can negotiate. Try to set up payment plans or offer the debt collectors a smaller lump sum.

Ideally, you never find yourself in a position where you must deal with debt collectors. However, things do happen. When fielding debt collector contacts, keep these tips in mind.