Have you received a threatening letter or calls from a debt collector insisting that you owe a debt that you know nothing about? It is important to know your rights. Even if you feel that you may owe something but not a given amount, you have every right to dispute it with the debt collector.
It is recommended that you dispute it in writing within 30 days, upon receipt of a written notice. If you do not have the address of the collector, they must provide this. It is the law! They are also required to send you a written statement of how much is owed.
Many callers to the BBB state that they receive threats by phone, and this is not legal. The FTC (877-382-4357) should be notified straight away, if this happens. If they are simply contacting you over the phone and demanding that you pay up and threatening to take legal action, be assured that they are violating Fair Debt Collection Practices.
Should you dispute the debt, a debt collector must “obtain verification of the debt” and send it to you. They should provide you with the business’s name and contact information. When you dispute the debt, collections is required to inform credit reporting agencies that the debt is disputed and must desist in collection activities, until the debt is confirmed.
As far as if a collector can go after you for a debt beyond 2 years, this differs depending on the state. Making payments on an older debt can actually be a disservice to you because if you start making payments, the cutoff point is no longer valid. It is within a creditor’s legal right to start the suing process over again.
For more information regarding Debt Collection FAQs, read the FTC’s “Facts for Consumers” at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre18.shtm.
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