Can I negotiate with debt collectors?

When you face significant amounts of debt it can seem insurmountable. It is important to keep things in perspective and to ensure that you make the right decisions and determine how best to approach your debt.

Dealing with debt collectors

Debt collectors are required to deal with you in a fair manner. Under the Fair Debt Collection Protection Act, debt collection agencies and lawyers who regularly collect debts must follow certain specific consumer protection rules.

The FDCPA protects personal debts, but not business debts. So, debts from credit cards, auto loans, medical debts, or household debts count under this law.

Debt collectors must not engage in certain practices. These prohibited practices include:

  • Trying to collect interest, fees, or other charges on top of the principal debt owed unless the contract on the debt permits those fees;
  • Depositing a post-dated check early;
  • Impersonating or mimicking a government agency;
  • Giving false credit information to a credit bureau;
  • Making false threats to take property from the debtor; or
  • Contacting you by postcard.

Debt collectors who fail to adhere to professional standards may face significant penalties from the Federal Trade Commission or other regulators.

Also, if you tell a debt collector in writing to stop contacting you, then they cannot contact you. However, the debt collector would have the opportunity to file a lawsuit to collect the debt.

Can I really negotiate with a debt collector?

Yes. It is possible to negotiate with a debt collector. Generally, debt collectors have an incentive to at least collect something from a debtor since debt collectors in many cases are unable to collect anything since individuals often move away or are difficult to get a hold of for other reasons. So, allowing the debt collector to get some payment and allowing them to move on to another account may be in their best interest in addition to your own.

However, it is important to ensure that whatever you do negotiate with and agree to is something you still can reasonably afford. In some cases, a creditor may be willing to start a payment plan to allow you to pay either the whole amount due or some portion of the total over a period of months to minimize the difficulty you may face in paying the debt.

If the situation seems overwhelming, or if the debt collectors feel too aggressive or overbearing, it may be worth looking into filing a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. An experienced bankruptcy attorney at JRQ will review your situation and advise you as to whether a bankruptcy filing is in your best interest at a free bankruptcy consultation.

Contact a knowledgeable attorney now

The legal system can be complicated if you are not used to dealing with it. If you are facing financial issues such as personal bankruptcy, immigration legal issues, or other serious legal issues, it would be wise to contact an attorney to help. Contact the law firm of JRQ & Associates now for knowledgeable legal advice now.

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