7 Ways to Deal With Aggressive Debt Collectors
February 2, 2018
If you have fallen behind with your debt repayments, then chances are that your creditors will contact you and try and get their money back. In some cases it will be creditors themselves who are contacting you, or sometimes your debt may have been passed on to a debt collection agency that is collecting the debt on the creditor’s behalf.
There are a number of tactics that debt collectors can employ to try and collect your outstanding debt, and this could include contracting you via telephone, email, on social media or visiting your home. Some debt collectors may use persuasive or even aggressive language in the course of your contact, however there are strict regulations stating that they are not allowed to harass you.
So if you feel that you are being harassed by a debt collection agency, what can you do?
- Find out exactly what the debt is
The first thing to do is to is to find exactly which debt they are collecting, how much they believe that you owe and to whom. Debt collection agencies are legally required to provide you with a copy of your original credit agreement, so ask for their mailing address and write to them asking for this.
- Request to only be contacted by post
Write to the debt collection agency (this can be included in your letter requesting a copy of the original credit agreement) asking them only to contact you by post. Best practice within the debt collection industry states that they must then comply with this. This should then stop any further phone calls or visits and will give you time to consider how you are going to respond to their demands.
- Keep a record of everything
Keep copies of any letters that you send and always send everything by registered post. You should also record the date and time of any other contact, such as phone calls, and take notes of what is said. This will provide you with all of the information that you need to bring a harassment claim or to refute any incorrect statements made by the debt collection agency.
- Know your rights
There are certain things that debt collectors can and can’t do and it is important that you are aware of these, as many unscrupulous debt collectors will try and convince you that they have powers which in fact they don’t. For example debt collectors:
- Cannot enter your home unless invited, and must leave when they are asked to.
- Do not have the authority to seize your goods or possessions – only bailiffs can do this.
- Cannot add excessive charges onto your debt, for example charging you £100 for a letter that it has obviously cost them much less than that to send.
- Do not have the authority to deduct payments from your wages without a court order such as a CCJ.
- Negotiate better payment terms
If you are able to pay off some of your debt then talk to the debt collector and see if you can negotiate more realistic payment terms. In some cases debt collectors will be willing to write off part of the debt or accept smaller monthly payments. However always ensure that you receive confirmation of this in writing before making any payments.
- Make a complaint
If you feel that you are being harassed by a debt collector then you should contact the creditor directly in the first instance and ask them to stop. We would recommend doing this in writing and pointing out that harassment is a criminal offence and that you can take further action if the creditor doesn’t stop. However if this doesn’t do the trick then you can complain to a professional body or trade association that the debt collection agency belongs to, as they are likely to have an official code of conduct that the debt collector is required to adhere to.
- Get further advice
In Northern Ireland you can either contact Consumerline who will be able to provide you with further advice, or you can come directly to a specialist debt solution provider such as Northern Ireland Debt Solutions. Simply call us on 0800 470 0461 and we can advise you of your rights and even step in to deal with your creditors on your behalf. We have helped thousands of people in Northern Ireland to find a positive way to manage and eventually be free of their debt, so contact us to get started with a free same day meeting.
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