If in Debt, Know Your Rights
Harassed by threatening calls via phone and in person for not paying up on your credit card debt?
Being in debt can bring on aggravation from debt collectors in many ways. While some use mild measures others can make the situation a big and ugly nightmare. How things intensify depend on the debt you owe.
If you don’t want to be in such a predicament, knowing about the basic rules of debt collection will help. You can keep them at bay until you deal with the debt repayment. Here are some of the rules you should know about.
Before going ballistic about the harassing calls, make sure the calls are legit. Since scams abound in the financial field like the recent hacking of debit card information, you should know to identify the warning signals.
1. Harassment by the collector
While genuine collectors can be rude and intimidating, they don’t threaten or abuse you outright. Only scammers resort to such tactics. They usually threaten with jail term or lawsuits.
2. Immediate payment
With regular and genuine debt collectors, you will be given a time frame within which you can pay up. Scammers don’t speak about tomorrow. They demand payment immediately and do it in a threatening way.
3. Form of payment
If the debt collector is specific about how you pay, it should alert you immediately. Generally banks use collection agencies to see to the debt repayment. These agencies provide multiple payment methods like via mailing address, website or mobile payment.
If the same person attends your call immediately, it is a sure sign of a scam. Most legit companies deal with multiple agents.
Know the rules
According to debt collection Act, collectors are not permitted certain measures such as calling late at night after 9pm or early before 8 am or when you are at work. Repeated harassing calls are also a strict no, no.
How to deal with debt collectors (legit or scam)?
Demand a written notice
Avoid beginning any discussion on the debt until you have a written confirmation on it. According to debt collection rules, you should receive debt notice from the collector within 5 days of the first contact.
The debt notice should have the credit details like debt amount, type of credit and a detail in your specific rights according to the Fair Debt Collection rules. Usually the debt notice is sent first before a collector makes the initial call.
Make sure you know about the address, name, phone number and other details of the collection agency calling you. You are allowed to request for debt validation up to 30 days from the first contact and this should be in written form to serve as proof.
Do a credit report check
It is important to verify whether the debt you owe is a valid one. You should be familiar with the debt you are being called or harassed about. To verify this you should always keep track of your credit score and report. This may be difficult, if you owe multiple credit card debts. To check on the credit report, you should first request a copy of credit report, which is usually free. The next step is learning to read the report. Make a debt list and repayment plan to manage the debt without having to be dragged to court or worse.
If you consider that a debt collector is acting out of bounds or is threatening you, it is permissible to lodge an FIR with the police. Know more about specific codes and rules of banks at http://www.bcsbi.org.in/. It would be best if you could explain the circumstances surrounding your debt to the banker concerned. Most of the time banks would be willing to find a solution that is feasible for both parties, if the reason for you nonpayment is a genuine one.
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