So, you are deep in debt due to a job loss, disability, or a divorce. Debt collection agencies are calling you constantly to try and get your money. They rely on fear to succeed, so the more you know about them, the better off you will be.

Seven Things to Keep in Mind When Talking to Debt Collectors

Here are some key things to keep in mind when you talk to debt collectors:

  1. Debt collectors cannot make false and fraudulent statements, but exaggeration is something that they can do. You should not take what they say at face value.
  2. Debt collectors are not on your side! They are not your friends. They just want your money.
  3. Debt collectors don't care why you can't pay, so don't waste your breath. They want you to pay them first, no matter what.
  4. Debt collectors will use guilt to get your money and try to make you feel bad for not paying. Don't let them. Your situation is not your fault.
  5. Debt collectors may be collecting for a factor (someone who bought the debt from your creditor at a discount). If you don't recognize the name of the creditor, ask them who held the original debt. They have to tell you. Then, bear in mind that they probably have quite a bit of negotiation room to compromise the balance (especially if they bought a $10,000 credit card account for $3,000).
  6. This debt might be too old and thus not collectible in New Jersey due to the statute of limitations. You can pull your credit report, look up the creditor, and find out how old it is. They may not be able to make you pay, and their trying to do so might violate federal law.
  7. There is no such thing as debtor's prison, so they can't have you arrested if you do not pay. Don't believe them if they tell you that.

Dealing with debt collectors can be very stressful. But knowing your rights and how to protect yourself can make it easier to deal with debt collectors, who are just another bully in the schoolyard. As a New Jersey debt collection lawyer, I know how to stand up to them, and I am here to help you.

Steven J. Richardson
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Bankruptcy, Collections, Student Loan, DUI and Traffic Court attorney in Woodbury, NJ.