Dealing with debt collectors

moneySince the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau started, it’s slowly broadened its scope addressing issues with additional financial products. When a consumer runs into financial issues and can’t pay their bills, debt collectors begin their calls. Debts are often sold to third party’s, and collection efforts can be intense. To make sure you are not taken advantage of, the CFPB is empowering consumers with letters you can use to make sure your rights are not violated. 

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau created five action letters that you can use to reply to a debt collector. The letters will help you obtain valuable information about the claims being made, and empower you so the debt collector can’t take advantage of you. 

If you need more information on your debt, you should send the CFPB’s first letter. It’s called the “need more information letter.” The letter says you are disputing the charges until the collection agency answers specific questions about the debt.

The second letter is the “dispute and proof” letter. It tells the collector to stop contacting you until they show evidence that you are responsible for the debt. This may be an option for you if you don’t want to talk about the debt until you have information that verifies the debt.

The “contact restriction” letter allows you to tell the collector how you would like to be contacted. Under the law, you can’t get calls about a debt at a time or place that the collector knows is inconvenient.

If you hire a lawyer to help with your case, send the “hired a lawyer” letter. That way all future correspondence is with your legal representation.

The “stop contact” letter tells the collector to stop all communication. That won’t cancel the debt, and could be sued for it. It’s something you might want to use if you feel you are being harassed by the debt collector.

If an issue arises with a debt collector related to any consumer debt, including credit cards, mortgages, auto loans, medical bills, and student loans you can file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. You can file for the collector and the company who you originally held the account.

 

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