Many talk about how well the economy is doing and the historic lows involving unemployment numbers, but the number of people in debt continues to climb. According to Lending Tree, there is an estimated $4 trillion in outstanding consumer debt at the end of 2018 and a chunk of that is placed with debt collection agencies. The numbers vary, but a portion of the 30 million people with at least one outstanding debt is turned over to debt collection agencies, who have an estimated recovery rate of about 20 percent.
Tips for handling these calls
As with many things, knowledge is power. It is best to be prepared when dealing with a debt collector. Debt collectors need to follow Fair Debt Collection Practices Act when they attempt to collect a debt. You are within your rights to do the following:
- Tell the collector to stop calling
- Tell the collector to call only at convenient times
- Ask the collector to verity the debt
- Inaccurate debt amounts can be disputed under the Fair Credit Reporting Act
- You can tell them to stop calling you at work
- A right to privacy regarding debt means that they cannot call others more than once when trying to contact you
- The debt collector cannot exaggerate or lie about the debt
- You only need to pay what you owe, unless the original contract states that there will be fees or interest
- You can pick the debts you wish to pay
- You have a right to sue the collector who violates your rights
Getting help from bankruptcy professionals
Bankruptcy may be the best option for regaining control of one’s finances, particularly if credit card interest rates are spiraling out of control or one experiences a major setback. Attorneys who specialize in helping clients with filing bankruptcy can provide real and lasting solutions that begin as soon as the paperwork is filed.