The Backward Morality of Collectors
In a perverse way, collectors are backward therapists, intentionally attempting to evoke feelings of fear and guilt. If they canít make you feel afraid or guilty, they will even settle for making you mad Ė as long as they get a response and manage to keep you on the phone. I kid you not Ė the collection business is a unique American sub-culture trained in psychological warfare. Every turn of phrase is designed to put you off balance.
Dialing for Discomfort
Thatís right, their prime directive, along with evoking crippling emotion, is to keep you on the phone because they know that if they can keep you talking they will maximize the probability of success. And success means getting money out of you; not necessarily a righteous or just credit repair outcome.
Credit Repair Realities
There are a variety of credit repair weapons you can use to fend off attacks from these collection bulldogs, but first let me justify this rant. I happen to know a few things about a few things, and here is what I have to say about the reality of collections, credit repair, the law, and the extent of misinformation Ė that exists in the world of the average citizen.
Are you ready? Here you go. Seventy-five percent of collection accounts in the hands of professional collectors are past the statute of limitation for collectabilty, beyond the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) reporting period limit, already paid, or completely bogus (it was generated by a system failure or belongs to someone else).
Stand Up for Yourself
This fact is not the real problem. The real problem is that consumers - assumed debtors that is - continue to pay these bogus debts every day. Huh? Thatís right. How could this be? Like so many other things in life, including nonsensical credit repair info propagated on the web, we often just believe what we are told, having less confidence in ourselves than we have in others.
Donít Believe Your Eyes
There is a terrible and common misconception that if something is in writing it is automatically true. There is a mysterious power that the written word has over us. And in the world of credit repair this phenomena becomes even worse when the collection letter appears on the letterhead of an attorney! If we are inclined to believe our eyes, the added authority of an attorney puts our discrimination into a coma.
Hold on to Your Money
So, how can we tell if a collector is attempting to collect a questionable debt? Here is the fundamental credit repair rule you need embrace, especially when it comes to collections. Donít believe your eyes. The collection may seem familiar, or it may not. It does not matter. Money is a hard earned commodity and unless you want to throw yours away you need to question every attempt to collect that comes your way. Here is how.
Credit Repair Leverage
Collectors are ruled by legislation known as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). This is not the perfect consumer protection law that it was originally intended to be, as it provides more protection to the collector than it does to the consumer, but there is one really nice feature for those who wish to leverage their credit repair efforts.
Time is of the Essence
Collectors must make their original contact in writing, and you have thirty days to challenge the debt. During the thirty days a collector cannot report the presumed debt to the credit bureaus. And more to the point, there is a significant and specific burden placed on the collector during the thirty days. And you need to take advantage of it.
When you get a collection letter you have thirty days to send a response to the collector requesting that they validate the debt. This debt validation period is the only time that there is any obligation on the part of the collector to prove to you that they have the legal right to collect the debt, and that the amount on question is accurate. You wouldnít want to give your hard earned money to someone who does not have the right to take it, would you? And, Iím sure you wouldnít want to pay more than the correct amount. So take advantage of this credit repair opportunity.
Flex Your Credit Repair Muscles
Write a letter back to the collector asking them to provide documentation of their legal right to collect, and also ask for a copy of your original account agreement and an accounting of the amount from the original collector. An internal printout from the collector of the debt is not sufficient. If the collect does not provide the documentation requested, write back, demand your rights, and this time mail a copy to the Federal Trade Commission. That will get their attention. Good luck with your credit repair efforts!
Copyright © 2008 Ian Webber. All Content. All Rights Reserved.