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We all have this problem. We’re at the dinner table talking about our day with the family and “ring! ring!” It’s a bill collector! We all expect these calls but sometimes, they can get to be alittle ridiculous! I found this webiste that may help you in dealing with harrassing debt collection agencies. First, please make sure in your situation that you are in a position that you CAN the debt but you’re just in a place where your fincances are alittle limited. Don’t try to duck a bill collector. These are not tips for that!

Go to http://www.bankrate.com/brm/news/cc/20030519c1.asp

Prioritize your bills. No matter what a debt collector says, an unpaid credit card bill is not the most important bill you have to pay this month. Providing necessities for your family comes first. Bankrate.com has 16 rules will help you prioritize your debts.

Learn your rights. When collecting a debt from you, a debt collector must play fair. For details, check out the consumer brochure on fair debt collection from the Federal Trade Commission.

Many states have their own debt collection laws. For more information, contact the attorney general’s office in your state.

Ask for a supervisor. Request that you speak to a manager or supervisor at the debt collection company. Make it clear that you understand your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and you want the abuse to stop.

“You don’t threaten the smart ones. You pick and choose your victims for lack of a better term,” says Michael Flannagan, a former debt collection supervisor in Tacoma, Wash. “We rely on the ignorance of the debtor.”

Contact an attorney. Once you have an attorney, a debt collector must contact the attorney, rather than you. An attorney may be able to answer questions regarding your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and specific debt collection laws in your state. To find an attorney near you, visit the Web site of the National Association of Consumer Advocates and search for an attorney with expertise in debt collection in your area.

Get proof. If a debt collector is breaking the law and harassing you, you’ll need evidence.

“If it’s legal in your state, you can tape the conversation,” says Steve Tripoli, a consumer advocate with the National Consumer Law Center.

Thirty-five states and the District of Columbia allow you to secretly tape your phone conversations.

You’ll also want to keep a paper trail. File all collection letters and keep detailed notes of collection calls. Note the day and time of each call, the name of the collection agency, the first and last name of the caller and what was said.

Stop contact. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act gives you the right to cease contact with a debt collector. You can stop a debt collector from contacting you by writing a letter to the collector and telling them to stop.

A phone call won’t work. “If they said ‘Don’t call anymore,’ we’d set it up for the next day to call,” Spragg says.


(For more, go to http://www.bankrate.com/brm/news/cc/20030519c1.asp)