Debt collectors are often pushy and aggressive when attempting to collect a debt. Their company’s income relies on recovering as much debt as possible. However, you can often negotiate with debt collectors to work out a favorable debt settlement arrangement. Here are some valuable tips for negotiating with debt collectors.
Know Your Rights
Debt collectors must follow certain guidelines provided in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) when attempting to collect a debt. Threatening or manipulative tactics are against the law and should be reported to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). This organization also warns consumers against debt collection scams.
- You cannot be harassed or threatened.
- Debt collectors may not use obscene language.
- Debt collectors cannot claim they are attorneys or government representatives.
- Debt collectors cannot misrepresent the amount you owe.
- Debt collectors cannot use a false company name, send you anything that mimics an official court or government document or give out false credit information about you.
- If you refer the debt collector to your attorney, and ask them not to contact you further (submitted in writing), they must deal with your attorney from now on.
A Debt Settlement Attorney in Memphis from Fitzgerald & Campbell, APLC can share more about your rights and options when dealing with a debt collector. Contact us for a consultation.
Negotiate with Debt Collectors Wisely
Although you may be in debt, you need to realize that you have some leverage to exert in negotiations with a debt collector in Tennessee. After all, their greatest fear is you filing bankruptcy and eliminating the debt altogether (when this is possible) – then they get nothing for their efforts.
Be wise when negotiating with debt collectors. Fitzgerald & Campbell, APLC recommends the following tactics and suggestions:
- Research the debt – be sure the debt is actually yours, is still within the statute of limitations in Tennessee (6 years) and the collection agency is a valid company. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), a debt collector must provide specific information about your debt within five days of contacting you. The purpose of the letter or email is to give information that can help you determine if the debt is yours and how you can dispute the collection if it is not.
- Know what you can afford – spend time going over your budget and calculating a fair amount to pay that does not create even more burdens for you. If you struggled to make the original debt payments, similar payments now won’t help your situation.
- Start low – debt collectors purchase delinquent accounts for less than what you actually owe the creditor – don’t make them rich! Begin by offering a low settlement amount (cents on the dollar) and proposing how you will repay the debt (lump sum or a structured payment plan). Debt collectors are often willing to make an arrangement to recover at least some of the debt. Never accept a deal that is not in your favor.
- Get your agreement in writing – after negotiating a fair debt repayment arrangement with a debt collector, demand to receive the entire agreement in writing before you begin paying them any money. When you receive it, make sure it is exactly what you agreed; if not, contact the debt collector and demand corrections. Never make a payment without an agreement in writing.
- Do not become emotional – debt collectors can use various schemes and language to generate fear and urgency over the debt. Speak calmly and realize who truly has the upper hand – you!
Get Help from a Tennessee Debt Settlement Attorney
If you have been contacted by a debt collector in Tennessee, be prepared. Learn more about how you can successfully negotiate with a debt collector and arrange a favorable debt settlement plan with help from Fitzgerald & Campbell, APLC. Our Debt Settlement Attorneys in Nashville can help you create a fair and balanced debt settlement plan that does not place undue burdens on your family. Contact Fitzgerald & Campbell, APLC today to schedule a free consultation about debt settlement and get the experienced help you need.