|Know Your Rights When Handling Debt Collectors|
BY LESLIE H. TAYNE, ESQ.
Debt collection agencies (creditors) have historically harassed those in debt. Collectors often call multiple times a day, from multiple agencies, quickly overwhelming the debtor. If you are having trouble dealing with the seemingly endless calls, there are steps you can take. Laws are in place to stop debt collectors from harassing consumers and using false claims. The Federal Government through the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is cracking down on these practices now more than ever before.
The FTC’s recent $2.5 million settlement with Asset Acceptance Capital Corporation, one of the nation’s largest debt collection companies, required Asset Acceptance to pay a civil penalty for deceiving consumers by trying to collect old debts. Anyone with outstanding debt, no matter how little or how much, should understand his or her rights against a debt collection agency and how to handle these harassing calls from creditors.
Know Your Rights
Although it may seem like the creditors have power over you, you do have rights when you are in debt. In fact, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a statute added to the Consumer Credit Protection Act meant to eliminate abusive practices in the collection of consumer debts, promote fair debt collection and provide consumers with an avenue for disputing and obtaining debt information. The FDCPA creates guidelines under which debt collectors may conduct business, defines rights of consumers involved with debt collectors and creates penalties for violations.
The FDCPA specifically prevents collectors from harassing or threatening consumers to force them to pay their debts. Do not stand for these practices. You can file a complaint with the FTC or sue a collector who breaks the law while trying to get you to pay a debt. To find out more about the FDCPA or to file a complaint, contact the Department of Consumer Protection or the FTC.
Speaking with a Debt Collector
Once you have determined your rights as a consumer, you are much better prepared to deal with your collectors.
Getting Creditors to Stop
One sure way to stop a creditor is by settling your debts. If that isn’t a feasible option, consult a debt resolution attorney. An attorney with this specialization is the safest option for someone with large debts.
A debt resolution firm has a staff of professionals who negotiate with creditors on behalf of clients, often achieving dramatic reductions in the amount they owe. An attorney will help clients develop an affordable monthly payment plan based on their current income and negotiate a settlement of the debts.
The best part? Once an attorney takes over your debts all collectors will be redirected to the attorney, stopping those harassing calls once and for all.
Leslie H. Tayne is the founder of The Law Offices of Leslie H. Tayne, P.C., a legal firm specializing in consumer unsecured-debt resolution and bankruptcy avoidance. She has 15 years of experience in the field and has directed her own practice for the past decade. She has offices in Melville, Long Island, and in White Plains in Westchester County. The firm can be reached by calling 631 470-8204 or by visiting www.attorney-newyork.com