If you don't have any outstanding payments, but are contacted by a debt collector who claims to have supporting documentation that states that you owe a creditor money, don't panic. No matter how aggressive the debt collector may sound, do not let them bully you into paying money you know you don't owe. You can protect yourself through two different actions that can help you prove your case that the debt collector is wrong.
The first action is to send the collection agency a letter of “cessation of communication". This is a letter that tells the debt collector you no longer want them to contact you, and under the rules of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), once the debt collector has been informed of your wish to discontinue communication, they are no longer permitted to contact you. You may also verbally inform them of your decision, and they must comply with your request. However, when you send a cessation of communication request in writing, you have official proof that the request has actually been made.
Once you have sent the written request and have stopped the debt collectors from hassling you, the second action you need to take is to request debt verification, or a validation of debt. The FDCPA provides consumers the right to challenge a debt collector's claim of a debt, and requires that a debtor must be given written verification of the debt upon request. Written verification includes the name and address where the debt began.
Keep in mind, although you have the right to dispute a debt at any time, your rights can only be activated if you send your first written request for debt verification within the first 30 days of being contacted by a debt collector. In other words, the moment you hear about the debt, either by writing or phone, you have 30 days from this time to make your validation of debt request. Nevertheless, even if you don't dispute the debt within the first 30 days, this does not mean you have admitted debt.
Knowing your rights under the FDCPA is very important, and can be very beneficial to you when dealing with debt collectors. It's equally important to understand the rules of the Federal Trade Commission, so you know when you can file a complaint against a debt collector or another harassing caller. However, when it comes to receiving harassing or annoying phone calls, don't forget that you can lookup the owner of a phone number here and try to find out information regarding the mystery caller.
Susan has an undying knack for tech gadgets and cool tech websites.