Junk DebtDo you have a junk debt buyer after you?
Let us help you.
Have you recently been contacted by a debt collector? Find out more information to help you in your interactions with them.
Debt Buyer AgenciesAgencies are listed in alphabetical order.
Just who are these agencies? Find out more about junk debt buyers and who they are.
What is It and What to Do
Debt that's called "junk" is considered bad debt - perhaps because other agencies have tried to collect the money to no avail.
There are many companies that purchase this bad debt for pennies on the dollar. They make their money by getting you to pay off your debt.
If one of these collection agencies are contacting you, you need to start by educating yourself.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) will give you invaluable information.
The FDCPA clearly deliniates what debt collectors can and cannot do while they are trying to collect your debt money. In addition, you also may want to read the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), because many debt collectors use your credit report as leverage to get you to pay the money you owe.
You should also check your state laws that govern debt.
For most states this is identical to the FDCPA, but some states offer consumers more protection. You should also research the statute of limitations in your state.
The statute of limitations is the time period in which a creditor can sue you.
Keep in mind that some less scrupulous debt buyers will attempt to sue you regardless of whether this time period has passed. Your defense is that the debt is out of the statute of limitations.
Once the debt collector contacts you, they should send you a written notice outlining the amount of the debt they are collecting, the original creditor and a statement that you have the right to request validation (proof) of the debt.
By law, the collection agency must send you validation of the debt if you request it within thirty days of receiving the letter or cease collection attempts until they are able to do so.
Don't be surprised if your request is ignored or they deny receiving it. Bad debt buyers often use this tactic to avoid providing proof, which they may not even have.
That is why it is always a good idea to mail communications via a method that offers tracking such as certified mail with return receipt.
If they provide validation and it is in fact your debt, you can then attempt negotiating a settlement agreement. While they will try to get you to pay the entire balance, which is often inflated from the original debt, stand firm.
You have what they want, money. Keep in mind that they most likely bought the debt for pennies on the dollar so even if they do not get full amount they are demanding, they are still making a profit.
If you can reach an agreement, read the settlement agreement they send you carefully.
Some junk debt buyers will agree to a settlement, but sneak a clause into the agreement that says they can still come after you for the balance.
If you fall for this and are in a state in which a payment restarts the statute of limitations, you can open yourself up to a lawsuit.
Contrary to what they would have you believe, you do not have to put up with harassing phone calls. You can stop telephone calls to your place of work by notifying them that you are not allowed to receive calls there. You can also stop calls to your home by telling them not to call.
In either case, it's best to follow the verbal request with a written one sent via a traceable method. If the calls continue, you do have options.
You can file complaints with the FTC, BBB and your state office that handles collection agencies. You can also sue for violations of the FDCPA and/or state debt collection laws.
You do not have to put up with threats either. Junk debt buyers often use threats to coerce you into paying.
However, if they make the threats with no intention of following through, they are in violation of the FDCPA. As with phone calls, you have the option to file complaints or file a lawsuit.
The FCRA can be another avenue of fighting collection agencies. A common tactic they use is to re-age your debt, making it appear more recent than it really is. This allows them to keep the debt on your credit report for longer than the seven years allowed by law.
You can dispute this by sending a letter to both the credit reporting agency and the junk debt buyer. Both must make a reasonable investigation into the dispute.
In theory, this should get the debt off your credit report. However, they will often confirm the debt without making an effort to look into it.
It may be necessary to utilize complaints and, in some cases, the legal system to force them to follow the law.
You don't have to put up with unscrupulous junk debt buyers. The law is on your side.
If they violate your rights, fight back. Most will back down once they realize they are dealing with an educated consumer.
Learn how many people just like you got this company off their backs!
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