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Tackling financial challenges and debt collectors

Once Florida families begin to fall behind on their bills, the situation can escalate quickly and result in serious financial challenges. And while such difficulties sometimes result in personal bankruptcy, it’s more common that families face embarrassing and stressful harassment from collection agencies until they are able to repay their debts. Here are a few helpful tips individuals should keep in mind if they’re ever confronted by debt collectors.

Gain representation

The first and most important step to avoiding harmful collections harassment is to seek the sound legal counsel of an experienced bankruptcy attorney. Not only will the attorney help their client understand the nature of their debts and explore their legal options, but they can also prevent debt collectors from taking extreme measures like garnishing wages.

Respond promptly

While many people are tempted to ignore debt collectors, it’s important to respond to alerts in a timely fashion. By responding to collection notices within 30 days and challenging erroneous debt claims, consumers help to ensure that they are not taken advantage of during the collection process.

Defend yourself

It’s crucial that individuals don’t allow themselves to be bullied or in any way harassed by debt collectors. A trusted bankruptcy attorney can help to uphold their clients’ rights and report incidents of consumer harassment if and when they arise. Furthermore, an attorney can assist their clients in legally obtaining evidence of harassment, which can be used in court if necessary.

Protect your privacy

Lastly, it’s often recommended that individuals avoid providing debt collectors with any unnecessary information. Money orders and similar payment services can be used to make payments to collectors, thus eliminating the need for them to access personal bank account information. Similarly, consumers have the option of safeguarding exempt funds from collections by placing them in separate accounts.

Source: Fox Business, “10 Tips for Dealing with Debt Collectors, Collection,” Fred O. Williams, April 3, 2014

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