When you get that debt collection letter in the mail, it can feel as if your whole world is falling down.
When you’re getting more than one of these letters, you might just feel like giving up. Don’t give up, don’t shut down and don’t just ignore the debt. There are ways that you can handle not only these letters, but the collection companies that are harassing you and making your life miserable.
Are you ready to make your debts go away and get rid of those harassing letters and calls? You’re not alone, and I can help you.
Where Did the Debt Collection Letter Come From?
Before you freak out about the letter and decide that it’s hopeless, it’s important to take a deep breath. In other words, put the letter down or ignore that call and walk away for a minute to gather yourself. You are not going to go broke from these people and you’re not going to lose everything that you’ve worked so hard to gain. However, you need to take care of this situation before you or your credit suffers anymore.
Here’s the first thing to consider: where did the letter come from? Is it from the original creditor or is this letter from a collection agency?
In addition to determining where the letter came from, you need to decide how old the debt really is. Here’s a clue: debts are sold to collection agencies long after the statute of limitations has expired. So, when you’re past the time they can sue you for this debt, you might find that it’s been sold 15 times over and they are still trying to send you a debt collection letter and collect on this debt!!!!
Decide How to Respond to Your Debt Collection Letter
At this point, your next step is to decide how you will respond to this debt collection letter. Chances are that this kind of letter will fall under a couple of categories:
– Debt where the statute of limitations has expired
– Debt that was never yours
– Debt that you paid off already
– Debt that is valid.
Taking the next step can be a bit tricky, but you may find that it’s necessary to apply it. For instance, say you get a debt collection letter stating that the original creditor is someone who you have never heard of. This happens frequently. If you are unsure of whom the original creditor is, it might be time to send a letter to the collection company and request a letter stating who the original creditor was and the date that the debt occurred. Also ask them to show proof that they own the debt and have the right to collect it.
The date is essential because this is how you will know if the statute of limitations is up on your debt. Plus, it is within your rights under the FDPCA, or Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, that the collector responds to your request within 30 days in writing.
You can also use Google to type in “FDCPA” and find out more about your debt collection letter. Google will have the best answers in the first few results.
So, here’s the thing: if you find that this debt collection letter is past the statute of limitations, they cannot sue you. Do not pay them, unless you want to restart the clock on them being able to sue you. If they continue to harass you, point out the statute of limitations in your state and tell them that the debt they are trying to collect has past this time frame.
Now you might be thinking, “Great, that doesn’t help me – my debts are valid.”
Okay then, here we go…
What to Do With Your Collection Letter If It Is Valid
If you find that the debt collect is correct, then you need to address this situation as soon as possible. The good news is that collection agencies cannot harass your family or friends and cannot call your work; however, they can garnish your wages if you ignore them.
In other words, you shouldn’t ignore your creditors if you owe the debt and are at risk of being sued. It’s time to sit down, plan a budget and start working to pay down some of those debts. The good news is that you can often settle with collection agencies for 20%-40% of what you owe!
It’s also essential that you get any agreements in writing, including the settlement amount, the amount of the monthly installments and verification that once the debt has been paid or settled, it will be removed from your credit report.
YES! You can ask the collection company to delete the account off of your credit report if you pay them!
The bottom line is that you don’t have to panic when it comes to getting a letter. When you take a clear headed and rational approach, you’ll find that you make progress and get the collection companies off your back for good and never have to worry about getting another debt collection letter ever again.
If you want the template letters to write to the creditors and credit bureaus to delete accounts off your credit report, stop harassing collector calls, how to negotiate your debts down and several easy techniques to increase your credit score, check out the Credit Repair Doctor® by clicking here.