Consumers who feel that they are subject to harassing and abusive calls by collection companies should research the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), as there may be a right to collect compensation, or damages. FDCPA was founded in 1977. Currently, it protects consumers against collection agencies that abuse and violate the rights of consumers. The FDCPA states what collection companies are and are not allowed to do. A collection agency cannot, among other things, issue threats or use profanity, contact a client outside of designated times or contact other parties about the debt.
If you can’t commit to the terms of your debt repayment, it helps to re-negotiate. Since most collection agencies receive commission, they would prefer some payment as opposed to none.
Before you try to re-negotiate a repayment plan, make sure you can commit to whatever you propose. It is important to review your finances and make sure that it works for you in the long run. Proposing to pay less than what you can afford is recommended, as it is possible to go higher if the agency will not accept this.
Re-negotiation is best done over the phone, as there is opportunity to work out new terms on the spot. If the agency is not willing to accept, offer new payment plans in small increases until something is agreed on. A lump sum payment is best.
After you have worked out a new plan, it is crucial to request the new terms in writing. Some agencies are less reputable than others, and may deny that new terms were ever negotiated. Or, the terms may not be properly recorded in their systems. In any instance, a written statement of the new terms will serve as protection for you in case the agency ever denies the new terms.
A few methods are available to consumers that wish to file a claim against a collection agency that they feel are in violation of FDCPA. The best, and most recommended method is to file a claim in a state court. There are many attorneys available who can help you to do this. A consumer can find them by conducting an internet search of collection attorneys or asking your state’s bar association. In a state court, a consumer will be able to show the court any and all case materials that they may have. Also, the highest amount of damages are collectible in state court. The other options available are to file in small claims court, with the state attorney general, or with the FTC. Consumers typically have up to one year from the date of the incident to file a claim.