If the thought of dealing with a debt collector seems daunting, you’re not alone. Often there can be confusion or misconceptions about debt collectors and why they do what they do. It’s important to be informed with the correct information. At Alexander, Miller & Associates, LLC., we want you to feel confident in your information regarding debt collectors. We hope to use this post to clear up some common misconceptions and dispel some myths about debt collectors.
Myth One: It’s okay to keep ignoring the call…the debt will go away eventually.
This myth is far from the truth. To start, the debt will continually affect your credit report, as it will be listed on the report until its time limit is reached. Once it is no longer on your credit report, it still remains in the creditor’s records. This can affect you later down the road if you need to utilize an account with the same business again. It’s also important to remember that while ignoring is the easiest step to take, it isn’t the best choice to make. As we’ll go over later in the post, paying off the debt will stop the calls for good and help increase your credit score.
Myth Two: Once I pay the debt collector, my credit report will not have it listed and my credit score will be able to go up.
Not so fast…just because you have paid the debt collector doesn’t mean it automatically gets taken off your credit report. In fact, the debt collector’s responsibility is to mark it as paid rather than remove it completely. In addition, it is always a positive thing to pay off the debt in regards to your credit score, however, it may take a while until you see that number go up. To increase your credit score, you should expect to allow time and positive payments to build before the number goes up.
Myth Three: If I just tell the debt collector to stop calling, they will stop.
If you are telling the debt collector to stop calling while at work due to rules set by your employer, the collector will have to cease calling while at work. You can also tell the debt collector not to call at certain times, however, it is essential to know that the debt collector does not legally have to accept that request. If you want to request that debt collector stop calling you altogether, you will have to submit a written request in order for them to legally have to honor that. The written request should be simple and to the point, and you can find help in drafting this letter through a simple search online.
Myth Four: I can just pay the original creditor rather than the debt collector.
What this boils down to is the contract between the original creditor and the debt collector. Since the original creditor could not obtain the money from you, they transfer that responsibility to a debt collector. It is also a possibility that the original creditor sold the debt to a debt buyer (different than a debt collector) and no longer has any tie to that debt. There is always a contract involved between the two parties, and you may find that the contract does not allow the creditor to accept your payments. At this point, you will need to pay off your debt through the debt collector.
Myth Five: Paying some of the debt off, but not all, will at least tame the calls from debt collectors.
While, yes, some payment is better than none, you are obligated to pay off the debt completely. While it may cause a small break in the calls, it will not ultimately work to cease communication from the debt collector.
Myth Six: Collectors can seize my property and take money from my bank if I don’t pay my debt off.
Debt collectors make money when consumers pay off debt. While this is the route they hope to go in, it is a myth that they can threaten to seize property or threaten other measures like jail time. A debt collector can only seize property if the debt was tied to the property and they have the ability to repossess it. Another instance where this can happen is if the debt collector sues and gains a court judgment allowing them to do so.
Myth Seven: The debt collector can only talk to me about my debt.
While this is true in some circumstances, there are three instances where a debt collector can talk to others about your debt. If you have an attorney, the debt collector can share information with them. If you are married, the debt collector has the ability to talk with your spouse. If you are under the age of 18, the debt collector has the right to talk to your parents. Aside from these three instances, it is against the law for them to discuss your debt with anyone other than you, the original creditor, and the credit bureaus.
We hope that dispelling some of the common myths about debt collectors was helpful and that you feel more informed about the debt collection process. If you have additional questions or want to know more, feel free to reach out to us today.