Having debt is a matter that could often lead to sleepless nights and anxious thoughts, especially if you are wary about not making your payments on time. This feeling escalates, especially when you receive a call from a debt collector for the first time.
With this, you might have some questions and want to know what these debt collectors are and how they operate, and if you are protected from illegitimate debt collection agencies. Also, you would surely want to protect your credit score and keep it away from non frivolous debt collectors who might hurt your score.
Here’s How a Debt Collection Agency Works
Debt collectors serve as agents for a debt collection agency – they are the ones who call you regarding your delinquent payments or may often come and serve you notice about your expenses that are already due.
Debt collection agencies work as middlemen for companies who want to get paid by their customers whose payments have already become due. These creditor companies would pay these agencies a certain percentage of the debt collected. These agencies collect any debt, be it auto loans, student loans, medical bills, credit card bills, utility bills, etc.
One debt collection agency that might ring a bell for you and might have contacted you already is Ace Cash Express. Based in Irving, Texas, Ace Cash Express is known as a financial services provider and is often employed by companies as their debt collection agency.
Ace Cash Express collections can hurt your credit score, and this may have a lasting effect on your account for up to 7 years, despite whether you are paying your balance or not. However, there are still remedies and ways to prevent your credit score from being devastatingly hit and ways to deal when Ace Cash Express collectors ring you up and come knocking at your door.
Here are the ways how to keep your credit score safe and how to deal with Ace Cash Express or any other debt collection agency in general:
Know Your Legal Rights
This is a cardinal must-know for people who have credit, especially those who have existing debts. Debt should not be a bad thing to begin with, as this is part of the big picture regarding the purchasing power of being a consumer. Credit is one way of payment, and debt naturally follows as you are given some time to pay for the goods you want.
There are legitimate debt collection agencies that are well within their legal rights to collect from debtors of the companies that hire them. However, there have been some cases that other debt collectors have gone over the line when it comes to contacting these debtors and employing unorthodox means of getting people to pay up.
Because of this, there are existing laws that have been made to protect consumers, as well as people who incur debt. Debt collection agencies, or can also be called third-party collection agencies, are bound under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
The FDCPA prescribes what debt collectors can and cannot do when collecting debts on behalf of a creditor company or entity. Here are some illegal practices made by debt collection agencies or their collectors that are prohibited by the FDCPA:
- Contacting third parties regarding your debt
- Harassing you over the phone or using abusive language
- Calling during inconvenient hours
- Using false representation
- Adding interest or fees which are not included in the original contract or agreement
- Threatening to seize your property if you cannot pay up upon collection
Suppose a debt collection agency or any of its collectors have violated or employed any of these practices when trying to contact you. In that case, you may complain to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or the Federal Trade Commission. You may also get a lawyer and sue the collection agency or its agent before the court.
Keep Records of Communication with the Debt Collector
Of course, if you have experienced unfair or illegal practices done by debt collectors, you have to present evidence or records of the acts that merit such complaints against them. You must have with you a paper and pen, or even your phone, to jot down all the details of your call.
Logged onto your paper or phone should be the details of communication with the collector – who you spoke over the phone with, what time and date it took place, and what debt or transaction is being called about. If they leave threatening messages, keep the voicemail or record as these can be presented before the court.
Notify the Collection Agency to Stop Calling You
This is applicable if you have already made your payment and the debt collectors are still giving you a call or that you wish to negotiate with the debt collection agency yourself. Under the FDCPA, you may request a debt collection agency to stop contacting you altogether.
However, you may only request such in writing, and you can only use this subject to exceptions allowed within the agreement you have with the creditor company. You must carefully think before going forward with this move. This might lead the debt collection agency to stop communications altogether and just surprise you with a lawsuit in the end.
Keeping debt collectors at bay may seem like a stressful situation, especially if you have numerous debts waiting to be satisfied. By keeping a calm but alert mindset and knowing your rights which protect you from undue harassment and threat, you can negotiate amicably with the debt collection agency and save your credit score from being affected.