Are you currently dealing with debt collectors? Did you know that the United States Congress passed the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) in 1977 to help protect you? This act was passed to protect all consumers from any harassment or abuse from debt collectors. Don’t get stuck with phone call after phone call or letter after letter. Below we will discuss if the debt that you have already paid can be collected again.
Collecting on a Debt already Paid?
There you are one morning sipping away on your coffee and out of nowhere you phone rings. It is the dreaded debt collector. Your first response is anger since he or she interrupted you, but your second thought is why they are calling you, since you have no unpaid debt. After they discuss with you the debt in question you have a couple options:
- You can be kind and offer to send them a COPY of your records indicating you have paid the debt
- You can also do nothing. Your debt has been paid and you have proof, case closed
Was it Really Paid?
As with any phone call from a collector, even if you are sure you paid the debt it still may be lingering in your mind. There is one easy solution to free your mind! Double check your records that you did indeed pay the debt. The debt in question may have been from two years ago, we all know we can’t remember everything that happened that long ago. Just go back in your bank account records, credit card statements, or however you may have paid it to verify a receipt of payment. Nothing feels better than a clear conscience!
No more Calls
You have determined your debts are paid and there are no lingering bills out there unpaid. However, the phone keeps ringing. Can you do something about it? Why yes you can! All you have to do is write a formal cease and desist letter asking them to stop calling you. Without a doubt you should send this letter by certified mail to be assured they receive as they will have to sign for it. From this point on they can contact you once more by mail stating what they intend on doing next.
Show me the Proof
Believe it or not, you have the right to request proof from the debt collector of the unpaid debt they are contacting you about. Simply send a debt validation request which require them to investigate and send proof from the original creditor that you may still owe the debt. This debt validation request must be sent within 30 days from the first time they contact you.
Do not ignore all requests
There may be times you know you have paid the debt and just ignore that “junk” mail that you receive. However, you should NEVER ignore any summons from a court that you receive. Contact an attorney to verify what rights you have and bring your proof of payment to court. As always, someone should contact an FDCPA attorney to discuss their options.