Dealing with debt collectors can truly be a bother, especially if they keep coming and coming after you. Yeah, we know, you have some debt and you’re doing your best to deal with it. Constant letters and calls aren’t going to help. If you’re struggling to deal with your creditors, it’s best to hire a debt collection attorney in San Diego to help you out. However, why not also learn more about what they’re not allowed to do so you can arm yourself with some ways to handle them?
What are debt collectors allowed to do?
As troublesome and stress-inducing as they are, debt collectors have a range of tricks up their sleeve. They are allowed to use several ways of getting you to pay the debts you owe them. Yes, you probably don’t want to hear about the means at their disposal, but knowing your enemy is a good tactic, especially when it comes to owing money.
Ask for payments
The truth is that you still owe the money and collectors are free to try to get payments from you. There are some laws that protect you from creditors hounding you forever. Unsecured debts, such as medical bills and credit cards fall under a law known as the statute of limitations. After the set date, your debt expires and you can’t be sued to repay your unsecured debts. Hopefully we didn’t just break the bad news that creditors can file lawsuits against you to collect the money owed to them. We will talk more about that later.
This sounds horrible, and it is, not to mention extremely stressful. But creditors can, unfortunately, put a certain amount of pressure on you to repay debt. That includes calling, sending letters, text messages and emails to get you to pay. However, know that they can under no circumstances mislead or threaten you. And, they cannot call early in the morning or late at night or call family, friends or work unless you gave them permission.
Yes, a debt collector can choose to sue you. Hopefully this doesn’t happen to you but if it does, you need to immediately take action. Don’t brush off the lawsuit because you will end up with bank levies, wage garnishments and liens against any property you own. That is even more pressure you don’t need. In general, dealing with creditors before they sue is much easier than after you get taken to court.
Sell your debts to someone else
If your creditor isn’t able to collect your debt, they can sell your account to another party. You might see the word “charge off” on your credit report when this happens. Most people think that means they are in the clear and don’t have to repay the debt once it charges off. But that isn’t the case. The new company can start collecting from you and use the same tactics to get you to pay the account they now own.
Try to negotiate
Debt collectors usually buy debt cheaply giving them big profit margins if they can get money out of you. Figures! That’s why a collector might negotiate with you and agree to collect only a portion of the entire amount. However, negotiating with a debt collector is not advisable because there are some downsides to settling debts. Without a seasoned legal mind at your side you might unknowingly give information to the collector they can use to leverage you. Things like your employer name, bank account information, etc.
Don’t be shocked if you get a notice you have to pay taxes on the settlement amount. Talk about adding insult to injury; you actually worked out a deal and now you get hit with a tax bill? Most people don’t know about this so it’s a good thing you’re reading it here. Here’s how it works: the amount you saved by negotiating is taxable so you will get a document called a 1099C. That document has to be filed with your tax return. The more you save when settling, the more taxes you will have to pay. Sounds complicated because it is. Make sure you talk to a tax professional so that you comply with all the tax laws.
What are debt collectors forbidden from doing?
Now we are getting to the good part. Yes, it’s time to find out what debt collectors cannot resort to doing to try to get money out of you. This is where you and your lawyer can stop them in their tracks. Know that they are legally not allowed to:
Continually contacting you after you tell them to stop
Another thing a debt collector cannot do is keep harassing you. This can include anything from incessant calls and publishing your information to actual threats and abusive language. If a collector attempts this, it’s time to put a stop to it with your lawyer.
Show up at your place of work
Know that no debt collector can show up at your workplace demanding payment. This is a big no-no. If a collection company shows up at your work, you need to get legal help, pronto.
There is one exception to coming to your workplace. A lawsuit can be served on you at your job. It probably will never get to the lawsuit phase but the bigger the debt you owe and the longer it goes past due, the more likely you will get sued.
Continually harass you
Another thing a debt collector cannot do is keep harassing you. This includes anything from incessant calls, publishing your information online and on social media and actual threats or abusive language. If a collector attempts this, it’s time to put a stop to it by arming yourself with a good lawyer.
No one, not your creditors or debt collectors, can arrest you for a debt you owe to them. No way. Keep this in mind and use it to calm yourself if a debt collector simply won’t stop getting in touch with you.
Pursue debts you don’t owe
There are many inaccuracies in the debt collection business. Inaccurate or incomplete documentation, errors in the amount of debt, and wrong names are only some of them that frequently pop. It is possible that a collector might come after you for a debt that’s not yours. Creditors cannot ask you to pay debt you don’t owe. It’s that simple.
Contact you whenever they feel like it
Finally, even though a collector can contact you and do so several different ways, , they’re not allowed to call you prior to 6 a.m. or after 9 p.m. No one, not even a debt collector, can call you without stop all day every day. If they do, you can request that they stop altogether.
Who is the most qualified debt collection attorney in San Diego?
Now that you’ve learned more about what creditors can and cannot do to get payments from you, it might be time to figure out how to deal with the debt you owe. To do all you can to avoid and prevent continuous creditor harassment you need to gather as many important facts as possible and see how bankruptcy and experienced lawyers can put a stop to debt collectors once and for all. Yes, you’ve read it right – attorneys are your best defense and weapon against creditors.
That’s why it’s essential to hire the most experienced, qualified, and reputable professionals in San Diego and all the surrounding areas – Bankruptcy Law Offices of Mark L. Miller. All you have to do is call, text or email them then you can relax and leave everything in our capable hands. We’ll work hard to ensure your bankruptcy proceedings are fast and successful. You’ll be able to quickly enjoy Balboa Park again without the stress of looming debt above your head. Give us a call today!