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Tips for dealing with debt collectors

People all across the country are struggling in this economy. Unemployment and foreclosure rates remain high, and an aging population is ending up with mounting medical bills that they cannot cover. As if dealing with all these bills and credit card debt isn’t difficult enough for people in New Jersey, many people have to deal with harassing debt collectors on top of everything else.

Creditors often harass people with a seemingly constant stream of phone calls and letters. Their aggressive and sometimes unlawful tactics put people on edge and can even make them do, say or agree to things that end up making a situation worse. However, there are some good tips available for people who need to deal with creditors and how they can do so in an effective way.

Before accepting a call from debt collector, a person will want to be at home, calm and in a comfortable environment. This makes for a more quiet and controlled atmosphere, which can help when it comes to dealing with the antagonistic and hostile tone on the other end of the phone.

A person will also want to make sure that he or she remembers that the phone call is often being recorded. Refrain from agreeing to any new terms, admitting to owing money or a payment plan and using certain language that can be held against you in a court. Try to stay rational and calm while on the phone.

Learn the state laws in terms of the statute of limitations on debt. In New Jersey, if revolving debt, including credit card debt, is more than six years old, creditors can no longer claim the money even though some collectors will still try and collect the unpaid debt.

It can also be very important for a person to make sure everything about the call, from the debt collector’s name to the time and date of the call, is written down. People can also request a debt verification letter from an unfamiliar debtor.

People have rights when it comes to dealing with debt collectors. However, collection companies are very experienced with shaking people up in an attempt to collect money, even if the debt can no longer legally be collected. Most people do not understand these and other protections they have from debt collectors. However, working with an attorney can help people understand and exercise these rights.

Source: Huffington Post, “9 Ways to Successfully Handle Debt Collectors,” Tiffany Aliche, April 4, 2013

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