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Have you been getting constant collection calls? Are you beginning to feel pressured to pay your debt but feel as though you can’t? Don’t give into the pressure and pay off the debt before knowing your total amount due and being aware of your rights.

This article explains: 

  1. Knowing what to say/do
  2. Knowing your rights under the FDCPA
  3. Options to get out of debt

You may be wondering what some of your options may be when facing debt that feels never ending. We created a free calculator (not even an email address is needed) found below that helps you explore your debt relief options.

Knowing what to Say or do

  1. Confirm your total debt amount due and confirm it is your debt. It is very important to know how much debt is actually due in your situation. It will be helpful to have the original creditors name (especially if they sold it to a collection agency), and any payment history you have. As you continue to have conversations with collectors, keep records of communication with them and important information they share.
  2. Gather all of the facts and information you can ahead of time, especially if they are continually calling you. One important thing to inspect is if you actually have to pay it. Check the statute of limitations in your state.
  3. When a debt collector calls you, ask them for their name and employee identification number (if they have one). 
  4. Ask the representative to mail you the information they have about the debt to you (balance information, last payment date, original creditor, when the account was opened, and how you can dispute it if you believe you do not owe the money). They may ask you to verify your address, this is okay to do. 
  5. Let the representative know that you understand your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
  6. You can tell the debt collector to stop calling you. You have to do it in writing, you can find an example of what that letter would look like here. You can also use an 11 word phrase, “Please cease and desist all calls and contact with me, immediately.”
  7. If the debt collector is calling you at work, let them know you are not allowed to take these types of calls at work. They are not allowed to call you at work after you tell them to stop. 

It is very important that you document all of the interactions you have with the debt collectors. You will want to have everything documented to ensure that you can remain protected under Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. It will also be helpful to have everything documented in case the creditor decides to sue you. If you can prove that they violated your rights, you may be entitled to financial compensation up to $1000.00 plus legal fees

You will want to verify the debt the collection agency says that you owe. By requesting that they mail you all the information you will be able to verify the information and make sure you actually owe the money. You can reach out to the original creditor to verify any balance information to make sure the collection agency did not tack on illegal interest and fees. The collection agency has to prove that you owe the debt, after receiving the information and you still think you do not owe it, you can send them a debt validation letter

If you are starting to get collection calls or have been for some time – I highly suggest going over to the  Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) website and reading through your rights. This will help you protect yourself from abuse, and it will also force the creditors to play fair out of fear of being reported for abusive practices. 

At any point in the debt collection process, you can request that a creditor stop calling you. You have to submit it in writing, and they will send you a response letting you know that they received your request. Make sure you keep a dated copy of the letter that you sent to them. You can find sample letters on the FDCPA’s website for a variety of topics that involve communications with creditors. 

Knowing your Rights

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) outlines what creditors or debt collectors can and cannot do as it pertains to trying to collect a debt that you may or may not owe. Under this law when trying to collect a debt, creditors may NOT misrepresent information or harass you. Examples of this include: 

  • Constant phone calls. Especially after you tell them to stop calling.  
  • Use of obscene or profane language.  
  • Threat of violence or harm  
  • Publishing public lists of people who owe them money (reporting to credit bureau’s does not count). 
  • Calling you without disclosing who they are.  
  • False threats to have you arrested.  
  • They threaten to sue you if they have no intention of doing so.  
  • Pretending to be an attorney.  

If any of these things happen, you have a few options. You can sue them if they violate your rights under the FDCPA. Typically, you will be awarded damages and attorney’s fees. You can also file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or you can also contact your local state attorney general’s office.  

Knowing your Options

If a creditor has threatened to sue you, it may be best to avoid wage garnishment and tackle the problem head on. There are many factors that can contribute to which route you go, such as:  

  • Debt amount  
  • Type of debt  
  • Creditor 
  • How far behind you are  
  • If you have other judgements or lawsuits 
  • Income and Asset value 

Let us explore the 3 most common methods of dealing with debt that is past due.  

Debt Settlement  

Debt settlement works by working out an agreement with your creditors to pay less than what you owe, and you make monthly payments until you pay off the agreed amount. I highly recommend working with a reputable debt settlement company to help you manage your debts and negotiate with your creditors on your behalf. Debt settlement may be a good option if you only have a few accounts, or you are being sued only by one creditor and your other accounts are under control and in good standing. 

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy  

In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, if you meet the means test income requirements your unsecured debts can be discharged in as little as 120 days. Going the route of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the cheapest way to get out of debt. You can start rebuilding your credit the day after the discharge of your debt.  

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy A chapter 13 bankruptcy works a little differently, in a Chapter 13 your debts are restructured and you make monthly payments to the court and they pay off certain debts over the course of 2-5 years. At the end of the plan, any remaining eligible debts are then discharged, and you may start rebuilding your credit at that point.


Being in debt and having accounts in collections can be extremely stressful, at times it can feel like there is no way out and you will be stuck in it forever. You always have options. At Ascend, our mission is to help you get out of debt easier, cheaper, and faster. When navigating the complexities of debt collectors it can be helpful to speak with someone who knows how debt collection works and with someone who has your best interest at heart. Give us a call at 833-272-3631 or contact us today and we can work through your situation together.

Post Author: Ascend

Group of guest writers and industry experts who have specific expertise in Chapter 13 bankruptcy, Chapter 7 bankruptcy, debt relief, debt settlement, and debt payoff.

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