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Stop the calls
Collection agency harassment : what the debt collector doesn't want you to know
by Richard L. DiMaggio.
Clifton Park, NY : Consumer Press, c2002.
Analysis of the Fair Debt Collection Act, 15 U.S.C. 1692, with index and notes. Sample legal pleadings.
     
The American Bar Association guide to credit and bankruptcy : everything you need to know about credit repair, staying or getting out of debt and personal bankruptcy
American Bar Association.
New York : Random House Reference, c2009
In these challenging financial times, the American Bar Association Guide to Credit and Bankruptcy, Second Edition, offers clear and essential information on how to build and protect your credit and wisely handle debt, and what to consider when bankruptcy seems like an option. Updated and revised to reflect current legal realities, this book will help you determine what you can do on your own-and when to reach out to a lawyer-when you are working to:
     
The complete credit repair kit
by Brette McWhorter Sember.
Naperville, Ill. : Sphinx Pub., c2008.
Former New York state attorney and mediator Sember presents a first- step guide for general readers on how to clean up a credit report, improve a credit score, lessen debt, and cope with financial responsibilities. Coverage includes assessing your situation; becoming a wise consumer; credit scores and credit reports; changing your credit report; reducing debt and improving cash flow; getting help from private agencies, government agencies, and legal professionals; coping with marriage, divorce, and debt; identity theft; creating a good credit record; budgeting; and making other related lifestyle changes for a better future. The text includes a list of state-by-state resources, state- by-state criminal law statutes regarding identity theft, and 43 forms and letters, also available on the accompanying CD-ROM. Revisions from the first to second edition are not stated. Annotation #169;2009 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
     
Consumer rights law
by Margaret C. Jasper.
New York : Oceana, c2008.
The new edition of this Legal Almanac is fully updated to include the latest legislation in consumer rights law. The author explores a number of common transactions that customers often face and offers suggestions on how to remedy. An extensive index and detailed glossary offer additionalresources in this area. The content is presented in a user-friendly format geared for general readers who want to gain a better understanding of consumer rights and remedies.The Legal Almanac Series serves to educate the general public on a variety of legal issues pertinent to everyday life and to keep readers informed of their rights and remedies under the law. Each volume in the series presents an explanation of a specific legal issue in simple, clearly written text, making the Almanac a concise and perfect desktop reference tool.
     

You have fallen behind on your bills due to unusual circumstances; loss of employment, medical reasons, or a change of family status. Because you are not paying the bills, creditors take various actions to recover the debt. They might start calling you to find out when you are going to pay up or hire an independent debt collector agency, which makes a percentage of the collected debt.

At first, you receive a letter in the mail stating you owe a debt and you have to pay it within 30 days. After that collectors start calling. They may call home, work, family, friends, your cell phone or even your employer. You may get several calls a day.

You do not need to be intimidated by these calls. You have rights under a federal law that requires debt collectors to treat you fairly. Here are a few things a collector may/may not do according to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act:

  • Can contact you, but not at inconvenient times
  • May not contact you at work if the collector knows that your employer prohibits it
  • Shall not mislead you when collecting a debt
  • Must contact your attorney, if you are being represented by one

A credit counseling service can help you manage what you owe. They have professional counselors to show you ways to pay your debt.

Credit Counseling

Collection agencies in violation of the law can be taken to small claims court.  Consumers can alos complain to the original creditor or write a letter to the Federal Trade Commission.

If you owe a debt you must pay it back. Let collectors know you have hit hard times. Work out a payment plan. Making small payments towards the debt might be enough to stop them from calling you.

More about paying debt

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff