Some collectors are okay. Just to get that out of the way. They are not all bad, and it is best not to pre-judge anyone, but then again there is the practical reality. Plenty of our credit repair customers have active collections, and I have never heard a Sky Blue Credit Repair customer say that a collector is a great guy. Anyway… if you are contacted by a collector, be they saintly or demonic, you just gotta know your rights.
For an interesting insight into the collection industry you should check out this CNN feature called Confessions of Former Debt Collectors.
The very first thing you must do if you are contacted by a collector, via phone or letter, is to investigate the subject debt. A shockingly high percentage of active collections are for spurious debts:
- Debts that were previously paid by you
- Debts that were paid by an insurance company
- Debts that belong to someone else
- Debts beyond the statute of limitation
- Debts beyond the reporting period limit
- Debts already sold to another collector
The Shocking Fact
The shocking fact is that many of these bogus, outdated, or otherwise flaky debts get paid. Collectors can be very intimidating, and most people do not know their rights; a financially toxic combination.
Credit Repair Homework
Credit repair can resolve all of these issues, but a little homework is called for. Do you recognize the debt? What was the original default date? Did you subsequently enter into a payment arrangement with a collector? All of these things come into play. If you are in our credit repair program we will handle the research as well as the appropriate follow up steps. By the way, are you in our program? If not, why not?
Maybe it is Not Yours
If you do not recognize the debt there is a good chance that it does not belong to you. Collectors use skip-trace services that do not always track down the right debtor. And file merger errors are a common credit bureau problem. Debt validation is a great credit repair tool and an excellent place to start if you do think the debt is not yours.
Using the FDCPA
Debt validation is your right under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) to request documentation of a debt from a collector within 30 days of getting a collection notice. If you do not have a recent collection letter, do not fret. We have ways to force the issue. Upon request, the collector should produce enough documentation for you to make a determination.
Using the SOL
If you do recognize the debt it is time to figure out the statute of limitation (SOL). Before taking any credit repair steps, it is best to know if there is a chance of triggering any unwanted legal action. The SOL is state and debt type specific, and is usually wonderfully short, compared with the reporting period limit of seven years. Look it up on the web. If the SOL has passed you are in a position to do anything you want without fear. You should be able to negotiate the debt easily, or even force the collector to stop calling by sending a cease communication letter.
Credit Repair Peace of Mind
All in all, if you are contacted by a collector take a breath and exhale away your fear. There are plenty of handy weapons in the credit repair arsenal that will allow you to get control of the situation. If you have worries, call us for a little peace of mind.