Monday, April 23, 2012

What to do first if you're served papers from a debt collection agency?

What would you do if you were served papers from a debt collection agency?

First and foremost, determine is the debt is yours.  Most of you are not naive and know if something is yours or not.  However, if there is any question on whether or not the debt is yours, the collection agency needs to provide this proof to you.  You can go about this is two basic ways: call them or send a certified letter (with return receipt to prove they received the correspondence).  If they call you (or vice versa), be prepared for a fight because, despite the legal ramifications in regards to federal law, they may try to bully you into disclosing personal bank account or employment information.  You may give them the last four numbers of your social security number, and if it's different that may stop it.  Years ago, I had a legal firm contact me in regards to an old telephone bill.  The person had the same name as myself, and the only way to clear it up was to give them the last four numbers of my SSN.  Done deal.  No more calls from that joint.

This same advice could be given if you are just contacted via phone by a collection agency.  Make sure to get their name, number, and the account in question.

According to the Federal Fair Debt Practices Act, through the Federal Trade Commission, they can only call you between the hours of 8:00am and 9:00pm YOUR TIME, not theirs.  Here's a link to a PDF publication on's site.

**Please keep in mind, the advice given above is only my opinion, and your situation may be different so it would be adviseable to seek legal counsel**

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