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Dealing with a call from a collection agency can be annoying. They can get on your nerves even more if you do not think that you owe the debt. Here are a few tips for dealing with these agencies.

Validation

The first step is to validate the debt. Do this immediately, while the caller is still on the phone. You start this by getting the agency’s name and address from the caller. Then you write a letter requesting verification of the debt. There is a template at this link (http://credit.about.com/od/debtcollection/qt/validationltr.htm) that should help you write that letter. Be sure to send any correspondence by certified mail. Be sure to send it signature required and get a return receipt. This will prove that you sent the letter if you have to progress to a civil suit.

Cease And Desist

Whether you owe the debt or not, you have the right to tell a debt collector to stop calling or writing you about the debt. You have to send a cease and desist letter. It will have to be sent certified with a return receipt request. Here is a sample to guide you in writing the letter (http://credit.about.com/od/debtcollection/a/ceaseanddesist.htm).

Lawyer Up

You can file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau here (http://www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/). Shortly after filing your complaint, it is time to find a good lawyer. If a debt collector has violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, they will be liable for damages. Those damages may include cash for you and all of your legal fees. It should not cost you anything to have an initial consultation with an attorney. Based on your responses to a few questions, the lawyer will know whether you have a case or not and should agree to represent you without charge or tell you that you have no valid claim.

One last tip: if at all possible record all conversations with a debt collector. The only person who can stop those annoying calls from debt collectors is you. You have to stand up for yourself or they will drive you insane.

 

About the author: Jerry Coffey

 

Jerry Coffey spent many years in a debt-riddled gray area somewhere between broke and desperately broke. His seemingly endless need for more and more cash led him to payday loans, repossessions, bankruptcy, and depression. After years of the same financial style, he heard a piece of advice that inspired him to find a way to change. The advice: ''The very definition of a fool is someone who continues to do the same things, but expects different results.'' This led him to a much more frugal lifestyle that sees all of his bills paid on time and a growing savings account. Even the seed of a retirement account has begun to sprout.

 

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