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"We were in debt for over ten years and were relieved to be able to make monthly payments to CareOne to begin to get our lives back."Deborah J., Conley, GACareOne Customer

Get Help with Debt Collection

Debt collectors, comprised of collection agencies, certain types of lawyers, and companies that buy delinquent debts and try to collect them, have one purpose: To get their hands on money owed to them or others as quickly as possible. Therefore, their tactics toward achieving this goal may sometimes be ruthless, so you need to understand your rights as a consumer, as well as how to handle harassing phone calls and letters, and get help with debt collection if you need it.

So how does having personal and household debts transform into debt collection? It’s simple: if you fail to pay outstanding accounts for a significant time period, then you may soon face debt collection activity. And it can happen quickly, so expect your creditors to take action, beginning with friendly reminder notices in the mail. Maybe you’ll receive a duplicate bill with a message implying that your payment is probably already in the mail. Continue ignoring these gentle reminders, however, and expect the tone and form of these communications to become more urgent or threatening.

These scare tactics are meant to do just that – scare you into action so you make a payment. But if you still don’t or can’t repay your debts, a creditor might give up on you and turn your case over to a collection agency, whose tactics may escalate – and in a not-so-nice way! It’s precisely at this point where you might need help with debt collection. Here are some tips on how to get your finances back on track through education and the right relief plan.

#1: Don’t Ignore the Problem

Even if you think a collector is contacting you by mistake, talk to them – at least once. Find out why they are contacting you and try to resolve the issue. This guidance is equally important when you know you owe, even if you can’t repay the debt in full or repay any of it immediately. Basically, you want to open the lines of communication and begin making plans to rectify the situation. Ignoring phone calls and letters won’t make them go away.

#2: Stop Collectors from Contacting You

If a debt collector contacts you under false presentences, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, states that you can send the collector a letter, instructing them to stop contacting you because you don’t owe them anything. In this letter, request that the collector send you written verification of any claimed debt. If the collector subsequently provides a copy of a bill you owe, act on it immediately by providing the collector with proof of your payment, or with your plan to pay it.

#3: Don’t Take Abuse

The FTC enforces the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which prohibits debt collectors from using abusive, unfair, or deceptive practices to collect from you. For example, a collector cannot use profane language, threaten your arrest for non-payment, or state that it’ll seize your wages or sell your property unless it is permitted by law to take the action and they intend to do so. Click here for an inclusive list of prohibited practices.

If a collector acts inappropriately, report such abuse. Many states have debt collection laws that are different from the federal FDCPA. Your state’s Attorney General’s office can help you determine your rights under your state’s law. You can also file a complaint or get free information on consumer issues by contacting the FTC online or at 1-877-FTC-HELP.

#4: Get Help with Debt

There are plenty of reputable organizations – like providers of CareOne Debt Relief Services – that can help if you can’t afford to repay your debts. Through various programs, such organizations can help you pay off your debt faster, let you make one simple payment per month, and help you build strong money management skills.

CareOne provides help with debt collection through individualized financial counseling and education. Start by getting a free debt analysis to assess how quickly you can start repaying your debt. From there, a knowledgeable credit counselor will help you choose the best plan for your financial situation based on your income level, type of debt, and ability to make consistent payments. Your options may include the following:

  • A Debt Management Plan offers significant interest and time savings and provides you with a plan to repay your unsecured debts in full in five years or less. You'll be able to consolidate all of your unsecured monthly payments into one, easy payment.
  • Debt settlement is a negotiation by a settlement service provider or lawyer with your creditors to pay back a portion of your unsecured debt. You make monthly deposits into an escrow account in an amount you can afford. When settlements are reached with creditors, settlement payments are paid from the escrow account.

Following these tips will put you on the right path toward financial freedom. Your route may simply involve becoming educated about your rights as a consumer to ensure you’re not being taken advantage of as you struggle to right your financial ship. Alternatively, your route might require bigger steps including financial counseling or a debt consolidation plan from a provider like CareOne. What’s important to know is that you have options and can get help with debt collection today; you just have to be an informed consumer. 

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