If you find yourself mired in the world of debt collection, you are likely to hear a lot of comments by people who may or may not know what they’re talking about. If you go online and do a search, you’ll find the same thing, as well as lots of books, articles, pins, and other information. Some of it is good, some of it isn’t–and some can be detrimental. Here, we’ll discuss some common myths you might read or hear about dealing with debt collectors.
Non-payment of your debt can land you in jail
You cannot be jailed for being late on payments or even defaulting on a debt. Anyone who tells you that is, at the least, incorrect, and at the worst, committing extortion and in clear violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA.) There is no “debtor’s prison.” In some states, you can be jailed for not paying child support, or failing to appear in court for your hearing.
Debt collectors can garnish your wages immediately
No, they can’t grab next week’s paycheck before you get it. First, they have to go to court, sue and win to obtain a judgment against you. Then they can file a garnishment order with your employer. However, they can only garnish your wages if your income is 30 times the federal minimum wage, which is currently $7.25 per hour. If your wages exceed that minimum threshold, the collector can garnish 25% of your income. The state of Florida also allows employers to charge you for servicing these garnishments, and those deduct the fees from your paycheck.
If the debt collector says you owe, there’s nothing you can do about it
Not exactly. With errors and the increase of re-selling old debts, don’t take a debt collector’s claim as the final word. If the debt doesn’t sound familiar to you, or sounds like a mistake, the first thing to do is request debt validation.
You have the right to accurate information as well as the right to request correct info. Under the FDCPA, you have the right to request they send documented proof of your debt. It will also prove that the individual and/or company contacting you is authorized to by the original creditor to collect on your account. To be safe, you should always request a debt validation letter before sending any collector any money.
Making small payments will stop the collection calls
Not always, unless you have a written agreement with the collection agency to make smaller payments. If you arrange reduced payments, you must keep up with it. Paying a few times and not paying again will start the collection calls, and you still owe the balance in its entirety.
You can be forced to pay debts of deceased family members
Untrue. Unless you’ve co-signed a credit card or loan application, collectors can’t go after you to pay a family member’s debts after they die. That’s the job of the estate and the person who handles it.
The Federal Trade Commission’s website states that a collector can only contact you or another family member to get the name and contact information of the deceased’s spouse, executor, administrator or other authorized person to pay the debt from his or her estate. A collector is not allowed to discuss the debt or any other related information with the relative.
If a debt collector asks you to pay the debt of a deceased family member, they are likely trying to catch you off-guard. Be wary of these types of calls; you may need to contact an attorney who handles consumer law matters.
Get the Facts About Debt Collection
Finding yourself in debt is never easy, especially if it was caused by a job loss, divorce, or other catastrophic event that has you scrambling to pay bills. Don’t let pushy debt collectors ruin your life.
If you’ve been contacted by an aggressive debt collector, don’t panic, and don’t say too much. Before you do anything, contact The Law offices of Jibrael S. Hindi. Call us today at 1-844-542-7235 to schedule your free consultation.