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Keeping debt collectors honest

When Florida residents charge items on a credit card, it is their responsibility to pay off what is owed. It is also the responsibility of debt collectors to make sure that obligations are repaid in a timely manner. While most people believe that debt collection agencies are legitimate businesses, their methods of getting the money are what come under scrutiny. Those who are receiving phone calls or letter from debt collectors have tactics at their disposal to ensure that they are treated properly.

First, when debtors know their rights, it makes it harder for a debt collector to use threats or other illegal tactics to compel payment. If a debt collector is rude or acting in an illegal manner, it is important to document when this occurs. Without documentation, it may be difficult or impossible to prove that harassment took place.

Individuals have the option of simply not taking a phone call from a debt collector. It is easy to make mistakes and contact the wrong person or contact someone about a debt that is past the statute of limitations. By taking the call, an individual could set in motion events that put that person on the hook for the debt unnecessarily.

Most collection agencies are trying to collect unsecured debt such as medical bills and credit card obligations. While these can be discharged relatively quickly in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, those who are eligible and who have a regular source of income may want to meet with an attorney to learn if a Chapter 13 filing would be preferable. Under this chapter, debts are reorganized and repaid under a court-approved plan that lasts from three to five years. At the end of the plan, the remaining balance of most types of unsecured debt are discharged.

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