Should you be talking to debt collectors on the phone?
Summary: Phone calls are convenient. But is the telephone the best way to communicate with a debt collection agency? Do you really need to get everything in writing? Find out what method you should use when discussing your debt.
If you are being sued for a debt, or are in the process of a debt collection, there are two main methods of contact: writing and telephone. Oftentimes, a debt collector may contact you by both methods, typically sending you a letter first to notify you of your debt. The collection calls typically follow, and it can feel overwhelming.
Whether you do not owe the debt, cannot pay it right now, or are looking to fight it, it is good to know how to respond to the debt collector. If you correspond in writing, you will have proof of everything they say to you. You can also fact-check and take your time when it comes to writing correspondence. If you are on the phone, you may want to record your conversations (but be sure to notify the debt collector beforehand).
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Ask for Proof of the Debt
Being contacted by a debt collector can be overwhelming, but it is essential that you understand who they are and why they are calling. There is information that debt collectors are required to provide and additional information you can ask from them.
Information You Should Request from a Debt Collector
Debt collectors are required to provide the following information, whether by writing or by telephone:
- The amount of the debt owed, including interest, late fees, and collection costs
- Their name and the creditor they work for
- Information on where to find the name of the original creditor if it is different than who is calling you
- The paper trail of your debt
- Proof of your original debt
- Information regarding how to dispute the debt
- Information regarding what happens if you do not dispute the debt
This information must be provided when they first contact you, or in writing within five days from when you begin communicating.
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Consequences of Ignoring a Debt Collector
If you choose to not respond whether via written correspondence or on the phone, your debt will still go to collections. This will lead to added fees, and finance charges. Other consequences include:
Tips for Communicating with a Debt Collector in Writing or by Telephone
The number one thing to remember is never to admit guilt to the debt. If you do so, then you will be required to pay the debt in full. Even if you go to court, you may not be able to obtain a settlement.
If the debt is not yours, or you have already paid it, you can explain this in either writing or on the phone. You can also legally notify the debt collector in writing to stop communicating with you. This can be done by sending a cease and desist letter.
If the debt collector is calling you at an inconvenient time or place, then you also have the right to ask them to call you at a more appropriate time. Legally, they must comply. If you have requested such things from the collector and they have not complied, you may be able to file a countersuit.
What is SoloSuit?
SoloSuit makes it easy to respond to a debt collection lawsuit.
How it works: SoloSuit is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your answer. Upon completion, you can either print the completed forms and mail in the hard copies to the courts or you can pay SoloSuit to file it for you and to have an attorney review the document.
Respond with SoloSuit
"First time getting sued by a debt collector and I was searching all over YouTube and ran across SoloSuit, so I decided to buy their services with their attorney reviewed documentation which cost extra but it was well worth it! SoloSuit sent the documentation to the parties and to the court which saved me time from having to go to court and in a few weeks the case got dismissed!" – James
>>Read the FastCompany article: Debt Lawsuits Are Complicated: This Website Makes Them Simpler To Navigate
>>Read the NPR story on SoloSuit: A Student Solution To Give Utah Debtors A Fighting Chance
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