The Covid-19 Pandemic hasn’t curbed debt collectors.
The global pandemic has created a worldwide health and financial crisis. You would think debt collectors would give consumers a break during this unprecedented time, but sadly that’s not the case. While temporary measures have been put in place that prevent lenders from going after current debts, those protections do not cover longer, pre-existing ones.
This is bad news for many Americans. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 25% of Americans had a debt in collections in 2018, well before the pandemic. As a matter of fact, 2020 was an amazing year for major debt collection agencies. According to ProPublica, in August of 2020, Encore Capital, the largest debt buyer in the country, announced that it had doubled its previous record for earnings in a quarter.
Alarmingly, debt collectors like Encore Capital and Portfolio Recovery Associates have filed thousands of lawsuits against consumers during the pandemic. And they’ll go to any length to get you to pay up. In some cases, collectors have even tried to take government-issued stimulus checks.
While this is deplorable behavior, fortunately there are still things you can do to protect yourself. Read below for my top tips on how to handle debt collectors.
How to handle debt collectors.
So what do you do when a debt collector calls?
- Ask for the proper paperwork. Under federal law, you have 30 days after a debt collector calls to dispute the debt or inquire for more information. If you request additional information, the collector should send you an itemization of the original debt along with any interest and fees.
- Verify the date. A collector cannot come after you if a set statute of limitations has expired. The specific time limit depends on your state’s laws and, in some cases, the type of debt.
- Request silence. These collectors want to intimidate you. Even if you owe the debt, you have a right to ask for no future contact through a formal cease-and-desist letter.
- Clear the official record. After you’ve paid off the debt, you deserve a clear record. Demand a written statement confirming that your obligation has been settled. Then, verify that your credit report reflects these changes.
I hope these tips will help you have a smoother process when dealing with debt collectors. Still, not every collections agency plays by the rules. Many will try to intimidate you, and others may even attempt to scam you into paying more money than you owe. If you’d like to know more, I’ve written a free report on what creditors can and can’t do. It explains your rights and how to report illicit activity. Download it here.
Put an end to the harassment for good.
If you’re dealing with debt collectors, you probably have debt you can’t pay. Unfortunately, short-term solutions will not offer long-term financial freedom. If you want to be rid of debt collectors for good, you need to deal with the debt, not with the collector. Bankruptcy offers lasting relief.
Bankruptcy has the power to stop wage garnishment, foreclosure, repossession, and harassment from creditors right in their tracks. If you file bankruptcy, you will never have to worry about debt collectors again. At Darrell Castle & Associates, our compassionate and effective team of bankruptcy lawyers will lead you through every step of the process.
Get the peace of mind you deserve. Give us a call at (901) 327-2100 or contact us online to hear how we can help you get a fresh start. The consultation is absolutely FREE.