How to Deal with Debt Collectors

Have you ever had a call from a debt collector? Would you rather have a wisdom tooth pulled?

According to Nerd Wallet, debt collection practices are the largest source of consumer complaints (to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau). More than 88,000 complaints were filed in 2016. The biggest reason? Consumers were asked to pay debt they didn’t even owe!

Creditors often sell debt to a third party, so it’s easy for records to get messed up and errors on who owes what to occur. That has happened to me!

So, if you get a call:

Don’t panic and don’t give in to pressure. Never give your payment information over the phone, and don’t make promises to pay until you have the mistake sorted out.

Instead, calmly ask for information on the debt to be mailed to you in writing.

Making one small payment under pressure is an acknowledgment of the debt and can have serious repercussions.

Ask the collector for a validation letter if you don’t get one within 5 days of the first contact. This will give you details of the debt, the collection agency and information on how to challenge the debt.

Keep a record of who calls, the date, time of day, and what was discussed. Keep a file of all written correspondence – including your records of the original creditor and any payment history.

Remember the words in James 1:19.…be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

Say as little as possible, but listen well. Sometimes they are willing to negotiate. Just don’t commit over the phone.

Know your rights. Check out the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

Or, seek a debt relief option. Our partners at Christian Credit Counselors are specialists in helping free individuals and families from the burden of credit card debt. You can get in touch with them or learn more by calling the Crown Helpline at 800-722-1976 or visiting crown.org/ccc