24th October 2017
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March 23rd, 2017 Cat: Bisnis Online

If you don’t believe me, ask anyone; no one can think of a profession that could be worse than being a debt collector. But that was before the economic slowdown and everyone’s business went belly up. Debt collectors are a whole new animal now, and they engage in practices that would make a hatchet guy blush. Of all the complaints that the Federal Trade Commission answers, a good part now is from people who are being chased by debt collectors and having their credit scores wrecked, for loans they never owed, or have paid back already. If that is what the debt-free get to experience, you might well imagine what is in store for you if you actually owe something. The banks and other financial institutions are so short of money, that they feel decency and a little thing called the law are temporarily expendable. So how is it that they go after the wrong people?

The country has a huge backlog of old debts that barely anyone seems to remember much about. The financial institutions just collect them all together, and sell them over to the highest bidder. There isn’t enough documentation or anything for these loans; the buyers just do some intelligent (or not so intelligent) guessing to find the people they think they are after. It is kind of like in the first Terminator movie; the Terminator goes after anyone named Sarah Connor. Since there are so many people defaulting on their debt now, the collection agencies have to quickly hire and train lots of collection agents; and the hurried training does not adequately prime them on what is legal and what isn’t. They may just think that since the people they are after are already broken and vulnerable, they really don’t have the power to make any charges stick.

So what do you do when you don’t owe anything, and lowlife debt collectors still show up at your door or make threatening phone calls? To begin with, if you are completely sure that you don’t owe them anything, you can write to the debt collection agency they represent, and send them a cease-communications letter, asking them to stop harassing you. They have to comply, under the law, unless they have proof. The problem is they won’t really tell you who they are; they’ll just keep calling you. Then what you need to do is look up their number on the Internet, or play along, and say you want to cooperate, and asked them for a name or address to turn to.

There is such a thing as a statute of limitations in debt collections. If nobody shows up for years to collect a debt, the debt is considered terminated. They can’t collect it, even if they sue. But if this is a valid debt that’s not that old, and you just happen to not be able to pay, you don’t want to be dragged into court. You could be in big trouble then, and they could seize your assets. If you are unable to pay, you’ll just have to play nice with them, and plead with them to offer some understanding because you lost a job or something. If the debt collectors ask you if don’t have a retirement fund to pay them with, just say you don’t. They can’t touch that even if they sue. That is protected by law. If the harassment doesn’t stop, get in touch with a bankruptcy lawyer. You don’t want to make some kind of expensive mistake like tapping your nest egg, do you?

If your debt has gone to the debt collectors, it’s not like you could save your credit score by paying it anymore. It’s done all the damage it could ever do. So maybe you should get in touch with a bankruptcy lawyer, just to see how little you can pay to get off. The best advice anyone would ever give you in dealing with debt collectors is, never part with the cent without talking to a bankruptcy lawyer. Finally, never pay out of fear. If the debt collectors are clearly threatening you with illegal moves, you just have to either talk to the police, or a consumer law lawyer.

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