Should I Pay a Debt Collector?
"Should I pay a debt collector" you may wonder. But before you hastily sign that check just to get them off your back, you need to find out if the debt collector is Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) compliant. If they have violated any debt collection practices, you can file a complaint that temporarily halts them from demanding payment so you can decide on the next action to take.
If you have no clue where to start, try DoNotPay. We will help you determine if the debt collector violated your consumer rights. Should you decide to file a complaint, we will draft a letter and send it to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) on your behalf. You can also report unlawful debt collection to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or the Better Business Bureau.
|Mailing Address||Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
PO Box 27170
Washington, DC 20038
|Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20580
|Depends on which area - check the BBB directory for the contact information for the local BBB.|
|Phone Number||(855) 411-2372||(202) 326-2222||Depends on which area - check the BBB directory for the contact information for the local BBB.|
|Email or Contact Form||https://email@example.com||Depends on which area - check the BBB directory for the contact information for the local BBB.|
|Fax||None||None||Depends on which area - check the BBB directory for the contact information for the local BBB.|
What Should I Do When a Debt Collector Makes Contact?
Having a debt to pay because of financial hardship or overdue medical bills can be daunting. Some debt collectors like ERC may get you off guard, putting you in a state of panic. The last thing you want is to get into a heated argument and leave no room for negotiation. So, if you feel that this is not the right time to talk to the agent, you can politely ask that they call you at a later date. However, these simple steps will help you navigate the call if you are ready to talk.
- Don't acknowledge the debt.
The debt may not exist, or it may have passed the statute of limitations. Request that the debt collector sends you proof that the debt you owe exists before committing to pay.
- Don't give out any financial information.
Debt collectors can use the personal information you provide to coerce you into paying a debt or collecting the money from your accounts with little notice. Collectors can even garnish your stimulus check if you have credit card debt, unpaid private student loans, and medical debt.
- Collect information on the call.
Make sure to take notes on every phone call you receive from a debt collector. Important details include the date and time, the name of the caller, the name of the debt collection agency, the name of the creditor, and the amount you allegedly owe. These details can become part of your evidence should you face the debt collector in court.
- Determine the next step.
You should decide what your next move is; the collection agency has provided all the debt details as per the law, and you have verified that the debt exists and it's within the statute of limitations. After you check everything, then you can decide whether you should pay the debt collector or not.
However, if you think they provided the wrong information, you can send a dispute letter to the debt collector.
Reasons Why You Should Pay a Debt Collector
Paying a legitimate debt collector is the best option if you have the money to cover the debt. Other than the great feeling of being debt-free, here are the advantages that should motivate you to make the payment.
- Credit score impact.
Unfortunately, a debt sent to collections has one of the biggest impacts on your credit rating. The longer you delay making the payment, the more it impacts your credit score. Keep in mind that the collection account on your credit report stays for seven years, making it hard to get credit when needed.
- Rebuilding your credit score.
Rebuilding your credit score is not easy, especially if you previously had a high credit score. A debt in collections tends to have a more significant impact on an 800 rating than a 500 credit score. Paying the debt may help to avoid pouring your efforts down the drain.
- To avoid a lawsuit.
If the debt is within the statute of limitations, a debt collector can file a lawsuit, and the process may incur more costs. Though in each state, the statute of limitation on debt is different and can take years for the whole process before they can bring you to court. Fortunately, civil judgments do not appear in the credit reports. However, lenders can still access and use these judgments to determine your creditworthiness.
- Ends the numerous calls from debt collectors.
Once you've paid up the debt, the constant and nerve-wracking calls from the debt collector come to an end.
Smart Ways to Deal With a Debt Collector
- Negotiate with the debt collector.
Some debt collectors are willing to negotiate the debt terms, making it easier to pay. Some agencies can even strike off the debt if you agree to pay a certain amount. Just make sure to have all the details agreed on in writing.
- Pay the largest debt first.
If you have multiple debts, request a plan where you can pay the largest debt first. This way, you end up reducing the highest interest rates and penalties and you can stay motivated to pay the smaller debts. Trying to make a deal with the debt collector can help you with your creditors as well.
- Seek advice from a credit counselor.
A credit professional can help you navigate the debt repayment negotiations so you don't make any mistakes that could lead to more debt.
How to Check a Debt Collector With the Help of DoNotPay
DoNotPay can help you to determine if the debt collector is FDCPA compliant, so you can decide if you want to pay the debt or file a complaint.
Here's how it works:
- Search “debt collection” on DoNotPay.
- Answer a series of questions about the debt collectors, including when you were contacted and how you were contacted, so DoNotPay can determine if they have violated any debt collection laws.
- Decide which course of action you want to take based on DoNotPay’s guidance, such as filing a debt verification request, demanding for the collectors to stop contacting you, or reporting them to the CFPB.
And that's it! Once you choose the course of action you want, DoNotPay will handle the rest. We'll deliver your request directly to the debt collectors via first-class mail or file your complaint automatically with the CFPB so that they can no longer use unfair debt collection practices.
What Else Can DoNotPay Do?
Helping you deal with debt collectors is one of the many issues we can help you solve.
Here are other services you can enjoy on DoNotPay.
- Help to increase credit limit
- Help to make a clean credit report
- Help with financial aid appeal letters
- Canceling a subscription or service
- Finding unclaimed money
- Help with bills
The decision to pay a debt collector comes down to whether you have the financial capability and the convictions that drive your financial decisions. Whichever choice you make, DoNotPay is here to help you navigate the process more conveniently at the click of a button.