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When debt collectors come calling, what should I do?

Debt collection agencies are relentless. They want what they say they are owed without a fight, without question and as soon as possible. Many Tennessee residents have dealt with debt collectors over the years. Unfortunately, their experiences have likely left them flustered, frustrated and even more concerned about the state of their financial affairs. They might have felt differently had they known ahead of time what they should do when debt collectors come calling.

According to the Better Business Bureau, there are several things people should do when contacted by a debt collector. First, the BBB suggests that they gather as much information about the debt as they can from the collector without formally acknowledging it is theirs. The moment that acknowledgment is made is the moment they can be held responsible for paying the debt.

Second, ask for written validation of the debt. All debt collectors have to supply this information if it is requested. If they cannot or will not provide it, ask that they stop all attempts to contact and collect the debt, as it may be a scam.

Third, challenge the validity of the debt. If the debt collector provides information saying the debt is owed, it may still be possible to fight it. To do this it is necessary to write a letter challenging the validity of the debt and include any evidence in support of that position.

Fourth, if fighting the debt proves unsuccessful, pay the debt if it is valid. The sooner it is resolved, the better. Finally, fifth, seek out debt relief options if it is not possible to pay what is owed.

Debt collectors do have to abide by certain laws when they are in contact with individuals in Tennessee and elsewhere who owe them money. Collectors who break those laws may be held accountable for their actions. Legal counsel may be able to help with that if doing so is deemed appropriate. An experienced bankruptcy law attorney may also assist in dealing with debt collectors and addressing one’s debt situation in a manner that best serves his or her interests.

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