Man on the phone with debt collector

Should You Answer Debt Collection Calls?

Although no one enjoys debt collection phone calls, ignoring them is rarely the right response. Even if you don’t owe the debt in question, it is better to address the situation than to ignore it and hope it just goes away. However, if you do decide to speak to a debt collector on the phone, there are a few things you should do to improve your odds of a successful outcome. In this article, we explain what to do when a debt collector comes calling. 

Collect Information

When a debt collector contacts you, first, do not admit to owing the debt over the telephone, even if you might owe the debt.  It is enough to simply acknowledge that the collector has a claim against you and that you want to discuss it.  Then, you should collect important information related to the debt. Preferably, you should have the debt collector provide you with this information in writing. The types of information you should gather include:

  • The name of the debt collection company
  • The name of the person who contacted you
  • The debt collection company’s address and phone number
  • The original creditor’s name
  • The current owner of the debt
  • The amount owed

Verify the Debt

Next, you should verify the debt. Whether you believe the debt is yours will determine your game plan moving forward. However, you should never agree to pay a debt—even if you think you owe it—without first consulting with a debt collection lawsuit attorney. Below are examples of a few common scenarios debtors face when verifying a debt: 

If you think the debt is yours: If you believe you owe the debt, you may want to arrange a repayment plan with the debt collector. However, you shouldn’t do this without first consulting with an attorney.   

If the debt is several years old:  If you think the debt is yours, but it is several years old, it may fall outside of your state’s statute of limitations for consumer debt. Therefore, you shouldn’t agree to pay the debt until you’ve verified with an attorney whether you still legally owe the debt. 

If you’re not sure if the debt is yours: If you aren’t sure whether the debt is yours, you should request formal written verification of the debt, including (1) the name and location of the original creditor, (2) the amount owed, and (3) proof that the debt is yours.

If the debt is not yours: If you are sure that the debt isn’t yours, you should inform the debt collector of this in writing and state that you do not want to be contacted about it again. However, when doing so, you should seek the assistance of an experienced attorney. 

Remember That Harassment is Illegal 

When dealing with a debt collector, always keep in mind that harassment of consumers is prohibited by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Specifically, debt collectors can’t oppress, harass, or abuse consumers when attempting to collect debts. If you are a victim of debt collector harassment, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible for guidance. 

Contact a Debt Collection Lawsuit Defense Attorney 

Finally, if you have been contacted by a debt collector in California, you should contact an experienced and knowledgeable California debt collection lawsuit defense attorney as soon as possible. At the Fullman Firm, our lawyers are passionate about protecting the rights of consumers. So, when you come to us for assistance, we will do everything in our power to ensure that your case has a successful outcome. Please contact us to arrange a free consultation today.