Many debtors feel helpless under the onslaught of bills, but every debtor has a specific set of rights as established and protected by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. It is important that every debtor exercise his/her rights when they are contacted by a bill collector. Here's what you need to know:
When a debt collector contacts you regarding a debt the law requires that they provide the following information in writing within 5 days:
- The debt collector must provide the debtor with the exact amount of the debt owed. This is important because oftentimes when a debt is sold to a collections agency the amount owed is wrong. If the amount is not correct you have the right and it is in your best interests to challenge the incorrect amount.
- The debt collector must provide the name of the creditor that says that you owe the debt. You would be surprised at the number of mix-ups in this area. Because debts are being sold so often and because of the carelessness of some debt collection agencies debtors can end up with debts that don't belong to them. By providing this information in writing, you will have the opportunity to challenge the debt if you never took out a loan from the company listed.
- The debt collector must also state in writing that the debtor has the right to dispute the validity of the debt within 30 days or the debt will be assumed valid. Debtors who think that the debt is not valid need to move quickly to dispute the debt in writing. After the dispute is submitted to the debt collector they must prove that the debt is valid and do so in writing.