Skip to content

Who Do You Owe?

December 1, 2011

When you get into debt, it can be confusing.  You will get calls and letters from the original creditor but over time your debt may be sent to a collection agency, then sometimes another collection agency, and then potentially even sold to another party, who either contacts you or who send it to another collection agency.  All of this transferring of the debt can give you a headache and can give you concern as to who you really owe the debt to.

The biggest key to dealing with third party collectors is to respond to the initial communication that you receive for the debt collector.  The first communication from the debt collector should state several key pieces of information including who the original creditor is, how much you owe and a warning that you have 30 days to have the debt collector verify the debt.   Debt verification is a powerful tool for debtors when dealing with debt collectors.  It is also important that the debt verification process be handled correctly.

The debt collector may or may not provide you with sufficient substantiation of the debt.  There are debt collectors that will send computer printouts or other documents that they claim support the debt.  While this may meet their statutory burden (depending on who you ask), if you genuinely do not believe that you owe the debt or have some other valid defense to these claims, then it is important that you take other steps to protect your rights.

There are many steps that you can take at this point but determining which the proper one depends on what your defense to the debt is.   No matter what your defense is, you want to make sure that you have all of the documentation necessary to support your position. In some cases, you can require the debt collector to provide the documentation to prove your case or prove that they don’t have the documentation necessary to prove their case.

This can be very helpful when dealing with companies that bought the debt from the original creditor.  There are a lot of misconceptions about debt buyers.  I often hear people tell me “well they paid pennies on the dollar so they will be happy to get anything”.   That is far from the truth.   Debt buyers tend to be highly sophisticated businessmen that engage in large scale transactions with major financial institutions. They also have complex business models that project how they will get the best return on their investment, including determining how much they will collect if they sue or don’t sue on the debt.  Given the great increase in the number of debt buyers entering the market, they also are paying more for the debts that they buy.  As a result, it can be quite tricky when dealing with debt buyers.  However, no matter how sophisticated the debt buyer or how much they paid for the debt, since they are not the original creditor, they are bound by the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and its mandates, as stated above.  Making them prove the debt can be successful in dealing with them.  Get as much documentation as you can and find out what your rights are.

From → Debt

One Comment
  1. RBDC permalink

    How to reverse boycott debt collectors.

    When a debt collector/debt collection/debt buyer company can repeatedly call with the intent of getting money their customers can repeatedly answer or call back with the intent of not giving them any. They need people to pay with as little talk as possible. They don’t want to talk with people who know they are never going to pay. Be all talk and no pay. Answer when convenient. Call back. Give no information. Verify nothing. Ask as many questions as you can. Answer none.

    Don’t ignore/block/report them. It doesn’t work. These folks want you to ignore them for as long as you can stand to or until you give them something valuable like money or information. Ignoring them is being their good customer. Sending a cease and desist is giving information. It lets them know you are still alive and remain their good customer. Preparing to initiate unlikely individual legal battles is being their good customer.

    Be their bad customer. Make them talk to you fruitlessly for as long as they can stand to or until they stop selecting you as their customer. These companies cannot spend seconds much less minutes on the phone with every person who will never send them a dime. But they don’t know who that is. You do. That knowledge is power. Every second you can keep their staff on the phone will render their business less profitable giving them a reason to never call you again.

    Calling will not reset your SOL. Making a partial payment will.

    One person who does this likes to ask general questions they should but usually won’t answer, “May I have the name and address of your agent for service of process?” Calmly and slowly ask them to spell every word in the address. Read it back for verification. Control the pace. If they are rushing then politely ask them to slowly repeat. “Are you a corporation and if so in which state are you incorporated?” Repeat your questions when you don’t get direct answers. When they won’t answer a question ask, “Would you like to comply with the business and professions codes of your state?” That is usually the point when they hang up on me but if they say they want to comply then begin your questions again.

    Repeat while you have the spare time. These folks have many victims and few operators. If everyone calls back but pays nothing the mass auto-dialer business model becomes unprofitable. Don’t aid and comfort the enemy by ignoring them. Call! Have a nice long slow friendly chat! Make them hang up first.

    Press 2 for Spanish.

    There are certainly enough victims to take down debt collectors so ignoring/blocking seems downright Orwellian. Really? We’re just going to passively submit and go with a block list or however we manage ignoring an endless stream of unwanted phone calls day after day? No! Unite or remain conquered. Answer/return every call – become well practiced at keeping these folks on the phone – or count yourself not amongst the free.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: