Outsmarting debt collector hounds

The best way for Minnesota consumers to beat debt collectors at their own game is by knowing their rights. Debt collectors count on fear, ignorance and intimidation tactics to scare you into paying them. Being equipped with the correct information helps you overcome harassing late-night phone calls, emails and threats.

Many collectors use unlawful debt collection methods to get money from you. Using the appropriate resources to combat these acts is a smart choice.

How to respond

There are proper responses from the initial contact with a debt collector to the final resolution. Inappropriate responses such as promises to pay, negotiating without validating the debt or making a payment to stop the unlawful debt collection can validate the debt and force you to pay the claim. Handling a debt collector the right way can save time and money.

Debt collection phone calls

The primary way a debt collector will contact you is by phone. Collection calls can be stressful and inappropriate. The language is often harsh and demanding. Here are some tips for handling a debt collection phone call:

• Get the caller’s name, position, company’s name, address, phone, email and their supervisor’s name.

• The original creditor’s name and the date the collection agency took ownership of the alleged account.

• The amount the collector claims you owe.

Not taking ownership of any debt is vital until you’ve had time to review the information. It’s wise to schedule a callback time to discuss the matter further. The collector will try to get you to own the debt or promise to pay it. Remaining non-committal is your best advantage.