5 Tips for Handling Problematic Debtors and Collection Agencies
Dealing with debtors and the aggressive debt collection agencies that often represent them can be stressful, intimidating, and annoying. Navigating this slippery slope is particularly challenging if you have no experience in negotiating and sufficing debt collectors. A naïve and novice party can easily be persuaded into paying more than they have to, or tricked into believing that they’re in danger of tragic legal consequences.
Fortunately, the law protects borrowers from harassment, exaggerated claims, and other bothersome tactics used by some nefarious debt collectors. With that said, here are five tips you can use to handle problematic debts and the collection efforts that come with them:
1. Consult with an Experienced Law Firm
First and foremost, since each case will differ depending on the factors and variables involved, it’s essential that you start by consulting with a law firm that specializes in debt collection. It’s especially important to take threats of legal action seriously if you’re being sued by an established financial institution (you can find information about what you can do in this case at https://www.texasdebtdefense.com/being-sued-by/). Responding with a proper course of action is crucial in order to increase the chances of having the court offer a favorable ruling that will allow you to repay the debt in convenient payments.
2. Get it in Writing
Whenever any arrangements are made, always get it in writing. This way you have a paper trail to follow which can be vital, especially if your creditor is taking you to insolvency court. Once they have agreed, in writing, to accept new terms of payment, a court will hold that as a legal binding agreement as long as you have it in black and white. This is, perhaps, the most important thing you can do when dealing with difficult debt collectors who may later deny having discussed new options with you. Remember, no matter how minor you feel the arrangements are, it is for your protection to get them in writing.
3. Keep a Record of All Correspondence
When it comes to any kind of communications with debtors, it’s always in your best interest to keep a record of all correspondence. This may make all the difference if it ever comes to having a negative impact on your credit history. Many times, you will have made payment arrangements with a debt collector only to find that they failed to document what they have agreed to accept. This can come back to bite you, especially if there is any property which can be foreclosed. A court will look at that and make a determination based on any correspondence you can document to verify your position that you are not in default. Remember, the burden of proof is on you, so it is vital to keep records of any communications.
4. Become Familiar with What Debt Collectors Legally Can and Can’t Do
The laws are quite clear as to what debt collectors can and can’t do from a legal perspective. They do have the right to contact you by mail, email or phone, but they cannot harass you. There often is a fine line between the two and if you feel that you’re being unfairly pursued, especially after you have made payment arrangements which were satisfactory to the debt collector, you have a right to protect yourself against being harassed. Also, debt collectors cannot, under any circumstances, discuss your account with family members, roommates or anyone who should answer the phone for you. It is your right to privacy and they can be reported to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). It may not help your credit score, but they will be dealt with accordingly by that governing body.
5. Be Firm and Don’t Talk a Lot
There is an old saying from Shakespeare which may be pertinent here. “Me thinks thou dost protest too much” is relevant in that sometimes you can say too much. When contesting a debt, you can actually talk yourself into more trouble than if you had simply kept your mouth closed and tried a more peaceful resolution. Yes, be firm as to what the arrangements were and what you can do, but after that, don’t say anything which could lead a creditor to think you are avoiding making a payment. You don’t need to give them any more information than they are entitled to and by doing so, you could be giving them ammunition to call in the note sooner than you can afford to pay.
The Importance of Addressing Debt Expeditiously
In closing, it’s worth noting that putting off debt until the last possible moment is the worst way to approach the situation. Although ignoring the problem might be the fastest route to immediate stress relief, neglecting the debt will only compound matters and lead to an even worse predicament down the road.