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How to Handle Debt When It’s Gone to Collections

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by Joe Mahlow •  Updated on Jan. 31, 2024

How to Handle Debt When It’s Gone to Collections
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Hello, I'm Joe Mahlow, a seasoned credit repair specialist with over 15 years of experience. If you are currently facing the challenges of dealing with a debt collector pursuing you for money, fear not. I'm here to provide you with all the essential information, including what a debt collector is restricted from doing, your rights, and effective strategies for handling debt collectors. Stick around to gain valuable insights on managing your finances effectively.


What Happens When Your Debt Goes to Collections

debt collector

When a debt goes into collections, there are two likely scenarios. The original creditor, such as a credit card issuer or mortgage lender, may employ its debt collectors or hire a third-party agency to pursue the debt. Alternatively, a different company might purchase your debt from the original creditor, aiming to collect the owed amount. Understanding these dynamics sets the stage for comprehending how to deal with debt collectors effectively.

Know Your Rights

know your rights

Before exploring how to handle debt collectors, it's crucial to understand your rights. Debt collectors are subject to regulations, including restricted contact hours (8 am to 9 pm), limitations on workplace calls, and prohibitions against lying or harassment. You have the right to request a callback number and can stop a debt collector from contacting you under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Familiarizing yourself with these rights is essential in safeguarding your interests.

Handling Initial Contact


When debt collectors start reaching out to you, it's essential not to admit to the debt immediately. Admitting to the debt early on may reset the statute of limitations, giving collectors more time to pursue legal actions. Instead, focus on gathering information about the debt, such as the original creditor, amount owed, and details that can help you assess its validity.

Avoid Emotional Manipulation

stop and think

Debt collectors often prey on emotions, instilling guilt and urgency. Resist emotional manipulation by separating money facts from feelings. Refrain from admitting guilt or making payments during initial contacts. Stop and think, breathe and request information on the debt and indicate that you'll be in touch later. Remember, paying is the last step in this process.

Dispute Errors and Decide on Payment


If you find inaccuracies in the debt claim, dispute them by sending a letter to the debt collector. Request proof of the debt's legitimacy and keep a copy of your dispute letter. After clarifying the facts, assess whether paying off the debt aligns with your financial interests. Consider the impact on your credit score and evaluate whether waiting for the debt to fall off your credit report is a viable option.

Bottom Line

Dealing with debt collectors requires knowledge, patience, and strategic planning. Avoid impulsively paying off debts and instead follow a step-by-step approach to protect your rights and financial well-being. Remember, rarely should you solve a problem by throwing money at it. Take a deep breath, stay informed, and approach the situation with confidence. Please give your comments below!

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