Death Row of Debts
Having debt in collections is more common than you might think. According to the Urban Institute, about 71 million Americans have at least one collection account listed on their credit reports. That’s nearly 1/3 of all U.S. adults who have credit histories.
Creditors often try to pressure you for payment by warning that your debt is about to go to collections. It’s usually phrased as a threat, and collection accounts can have a negative effect on your credit history. But, there’s very little other difference between having a debt in collections and having the original creditor attempting to collect.
When debt is in collections, you can still fight back.
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Debt Collectors Don’t Always Follow the Law
The one key difference between debt in the hands of an original creditor and debt in collections actually works in your favor. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and similar statutes in many states impose strict limitations and obligations on third party debt collectors, such as collection agencies and debt buyers.
Each year, the federal government receives hundreds of thousands of complaints about debt collectors. Some common complaints include:
- Consumers report being contacted about debts that are not theirs
- Consumers report that the amount the debt collector is pursuing is wrong
- Consumers say they’ve been called too often, or outside the hours allowed under the FDCPA
Many consumers even report being threatened by debt collectors.
Debt collectors who break the rules are handing you a powerful negotiating tool. Unfortunately, most people pursued by debt collectors don’t know their rights, and don’t realize that they may have claims against the collection agency or debt buyer.
Managing Debt in Collections
Debt collectors and debt buyers are often willing to settle debts for significantly less than the outstanding balance. This is especially true of debt buyers, who may have purchased the debt for as little as a few pennies on the dollar. That is, a debt buyer may have purchased the right to collect on your $2,000 in unpaid credit card debt for $100 or less. If you agree to settle the debt for 10% of what you owed, the debt buyer will still make a profit.
But, you’ll want to explore your options before jumping into a settlement. When debt collectors violate the FDCPA and other consumer protection statutes, you may be able to collect damages. In some cases, your original debt will be written off and you’ll walk away with a check.
Don’t let debt collectors bully you into making bad decisions about how to spend your limited resources. Educate yourself about how you can fight back.
DebtCleanse™ Can HelpWe’ll give you the strategies and resources you need to put debt collector stress behind you.
When you sign up with DebtCleanse™, we’ll team you up with an attorney in your state. Your attorney will notify collectors to direct any future communication to their law offices. This should immediately stop harassing calls and letters.
Your attorney will also interview you and comb through your documents for potential violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) or other federal and state laws. Those violations can create leverage to challenge debt in collections and other types of debt. If creditors and debt collectors don’t follow the law, your attorney can hold them accountable.
Often, debt collectors stop collection action as soon as they receive a letter from an attorney, focusing their efforts on people who are less likely to fight back. And, many consumer protection statutes require debt collectors who break the law to pay your attorney’s fees. So, our members may be able to resolve debts without paying anything beyond the enrollment and membership fees.
DebtCleanse™ can put you back in control with creditors and debt collectors.