Don’t worry if you’re caught off guard the first time a collector calls. It’s completely normal, but talking to a debt collector without any preparation can lead to unintended consequences. You may even inadvertently agree to pay off a debt or collection account that you cannot afford to pay. Or you could end up fighting with a collector insisting you pay back a debt you don’t feel you owe. While phone calls from collectors will never be the most pleasant of encounters, they turn out much better with a little preparation.
When a Debt Collector Calls, Make Sure You Have Time to Talk:
If you receive a call from a debt collector, you need to have enough time to write down a few notes about the collector, the account, the debt, etc. If you don’t have time (or the ability) to do this when you receive the call, tell them you can’t talk at the moment and request that they call back at another time when you would be available to speak. Even if all you want to accomplish is to stop the collector from calling, you should request a call back when you have time to talk since, to stop the calls, you would need their name and mailing address to send a cease and desist letter.
Have a Pen and Paper Ready During the Call:
When on a call, debt collectors take notes. It would be best if you took notes while on the call, too. Any records you create will be convenient if you ever face the debt collector in court or if you need to discuss something that came up on a previous phone call. Try to include the time and date of the call, name of the individual on the phone, collection company name and address, amount of the debt referred to, original creditor’s name, and any other details discussed.
Request Additional Information About the Debt:
Let the collector know that you need more information. Try to keep it simple. Let them know you don’t recall the debt they are referring to and you will need them to send you more information about the debt. Or advise them you don’t believe you owe the debt and you need more information about it. In order to send additional info, the collector will need to verify your mailing address. Do not say anything to the debt collector that implies you are liable for the debt.
Don’t Accept Responsibility for the Debt Over the Phone:
You should consider a call from a debt collector to be a type of interrogation. You’re “innocent” of the debt until you’re proven guilty. Before making any payments, or agreeing to make any future payments, you should always verify: 1) the debt, 2) that you are responsible for the debt, and 3) that the debt collector is legally able to collect the debt. Some “debt collectors” makeup debts or collect on debts they have no legal right to collect. The simplest way to obtain proof that the debt is yours, and that the collector can collect on it is to write a letter requesting that the collector send proof that the debt being referenced is your debt.
If you are receiving excessive calls from collectors because you are buried in debt or if you need to discuss the protections offered by bankruptcy, we can help. Stop collection calls immediately by filing; get in touch with Kenneth C. Rannick P.C., Tennessee and Georgia bankruptcy attorney as soon as possible.