Debt Collection Agencies
Debt collection agencies have one goal in mind when it comes to your financial obligation: collect on your debt. Debt collection agencies are not the same as creditors. Creditors can negotiate your debt down if you initiate the conversation. Some creditors will even offer you a settlement of their own accord. However, when a debt becomes far past due a creditor can hand the debt to a debt collector. From there, a debt collector will attempt to collect, oftentimes in a much more aggressive fashion.
Practices of Debt Collection Agencies
Debt collection agencies can be notorious for their aggressive demeanor when handling customers. As stated, a debt collector’s sole purpose is to collect a debt from you. Since they are not concerned with the same goals as a creditor would be (things like customer satisfaction) they don’t always cater to you during interactions. Debt collectors can be relentless when trying to collect, and this can become a major inconvenience in your regular life.
Debt collection agencies will do many things to achieve their goals. This can include making multiple phone calls to you in a day or sending threatening letters to your place of residence. If you do end up speaking to a debt collector, it is possible that they might employ threatening tactics to coerce you into paying (or promising to make payment). While it might be an intimidating process to go through (should you choose to speak to any debt collection agencies) remember that even when dealing with debt collectors, you have rights that must be respected at all times.
Should any debt collection agencies violate your rights, you have the ability to report the agency or, in some cases, you can even sue the offending agency. One misconception that many people have has to do with debt collection agencies. Since you owe money, people have the right to demand things from you (or threaten you). This is not true, and there are laws in place to protect you against the unlawful actions some debt collection agencies can utilize.
Ways to Protect Yourself from Debt Collection Agencies
If you believe a debt collection agency is exhibiting unlawful behavior towards you, you have multiple options at your disposal to help protect your rights. The most well-known of these options is the FDCPA, a list of regulations that restrict the amount and type of interaction debt collection agencies can have with you. Actions like calling too frequently, calling at unlawful hours, or threatening you with illegal activity (such as threats of violence or incarceration), all go against the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Should this ever be the case, you may have the right to sue the offending debt collection agency.
You can also protect yourself against unlawful debt collection agencies by reporting them to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The CFPB is a government organization created to help protect individuals in consumer related instances. Should you run into any acts that you believe are illegal, you can report the offending debt collection agency to the CFPB for investigation. In order to have a measure of protection (and the highest level of success) against debt collection agencies, be sure to document any and all communication you have with debt collectors. This will help to solidify your case against a debt collector should they violate your rights.