Get Debt Relief with a Solid Debt Plan
At best, being on the receiving end of debt collector calls and letters can be nerve-wracking. At worst, it can be terrifying. If you’re looking to get debt relief, you need to formulate a debt plan. Although everyone’s individual circumstances are different, we’ve outlined ideas and suggestions that you can use to get started.
Debt Plan Step 1. Know your rights. Remember that knowledge is power. When you understand your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you’ll be less likely to fall victim to unscrupulous debt collectors and more likely to get debt relief.
Debt Plan Step 2. Start a logbook. As tedious at it sounds, the foundation of a debt plan is keeping a record of every interaction you have with a debt collection agency – whether on the phone or in writing. This will give you a huge advantage if the debt collector crosses the line into illegal behavior. Whether you use paper and pen, your smartphone, or a spreadsheet, note the date and time of every phone call, along with the debt collector’s name and the debt collection agency name. Also record what the debt collector said. Keep the originals of all correspondence, including the outer envelopes in which notices are mailed. Note the date you received each piece of mail.
Debt Plan Step 3. Answer the phone and open the mail. Once you engage the services of Debt & Credit Lawyer, all debt collector calls and correspondence must go to your attorney. Until then, it’s important that you set aside your dread, and answer the phone and open the mail. It’s the only path toward debt relief, and is a cornerstone of your debt plan. Debt collectors count on the fact that most consumers avoid debt collection agency communication, and use that to their advantage in obtaining legal judgments. Don’t let that happen to you!
Debt Plan Step 4. Buy yourself some time. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act says that, within five days of first contacting you, a debt collection agency must send you a written notice stating the amount of the debt owed, the creditor to whom the debt is owed, and that you have 30 days in which to dispute the debt. Unless you have the money to pay the outstanding debt, your debt plan should be to send the debt collection agency a debt collection dispute letter. This accomplishes several things in your quest to get debt relief. First, it forces the debt collection agency to research the debt and collect documentation, which they must then forward to you. This is an enormous hassle for debt collectors, and often takes some time. Second, once a debt collection agency receives your dispute letter, they cannot contact you again until they have provided you with proof that the debt is valid. This is one way to get debt relief in that it gives you some breathing room to figure out what to do. Third, it gives you the opportunity to do your own research, and see if they debt is truly yours to pay. Some very old debts, for example, may have expired under your state’s statute of limitations.
Debt Plan Step 5. Stop the calls and letters. If you’re like most people, you find debt collection calls and letters extremely stressful. According to the FDCPA, if you write a cease and desist letter, the debt collector can no longer communicate with you unless they’re informing you that they’re no longer trying to collect the debt, or that they’re taking legal action. While this doesn’t erase your debt, it can keep the dread of answering the phone and opening the mail at bay. That’s one way to get debt relief!
Debt Plan Step 6. Fight illegal debt collection practices. If a debt collector has crossed the line and engaged in illegal debt collection practices, you can make him pay – literally. The Fair Debt Collection Practices act says that you can recover actual damages, attorney fees, plus up to $1,000. Often the threat of a lawsuit is enough to prod the shady debt collector into offering to wipe away the debt or offering a monetary settlement. Contact the legal team at Debt & Credit Lawyer for a free case evaluation. In addition, file a complaint with your state attorney general’s office and with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Debt Plan Step 7. Decide how to deal with the debt. If you discover that the debt is legally yours to pay, you need to decide upon the best course of action to get debt relief. If you decide to pay the debt, visit our resource on negotiating a debt settlement. If you find the bankruptcy is your only option, consult our overview on Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Debt Plan Step 8. Find the support you need. When you’re dealing with debt collection agencies and trying to get debt relief, you need an ally. Ideally, you and your significant other can work together as a team to develop a strategy that will work for your family. You can also seek out the support of a close friend who can help see you through this rough patch in your life. You’d be surprised at the number of your friends who have lived through similar circumstances. Although people tend not to talk about it, chances are good that there are several people in your circle of friends and acquaintances who have experienced your financial anxiety and frustration. Finally, you can seek out the help of Debt & Credit Lawyer. We’ll be by your side every step of the way. Call 203-529-5100 to get help to get a free, no-obligation case evaluation.