If your clients receive a call from a debt collector, they should listen carefully and take notes on what is being said. There is no need to panic! Advise clients that taking the right first step is easy and necessary for their financial well-being.
There are many unknowns in a collection call, such as:
- Who is attempting to collect the debt?
- What is the amount in question?
- What is the timeline for repayment?
These important facts need to be clarified before declaring who the debt belongs to and if it needs to be repaid. Debt obligations are a heavy burden to carry and equipped with knowledge about debt validation letters, your business can be the lifesaver to help clients find relief if they are being contacted by creditors.
1. Don’t Admit Fault
Make sure clients never admit the debt is theirs. Even if they suspect it may be something they owe, they need to be 100 percent sure before saying it aloud.
Signs the call may be illegitimate and not worthy of any response include:
- Payment is demanded immediately
- They ask for only one form of payment
- Jail time or lawsuits are used as a threat
If clients mistakenly admit to a debt that is not their own, they can be held liable and remain stuck in debt negotiations with creditors for years. Staying calm and asking clarifying questions to ensure the call is legitimate will help start the necessary process of validating the debt.
Advise a client to ask:
- What’s your name?
- What is this about?
- Can you verify your information?
- How was the debt calculated?
- How will this be reported?
- Can you send me the documents?
2. Check Credit Reports
Credit reports are a client’s playbook for financial health. If your client is contacted by debt collectors, take the following steps before drafting a letter to validate debt on behalf of your client:
- Have clients print their credit report and help independently investigate the claim
- Read through data from every bureau and then help the client better understand the claims the collectors made on the phone call
- Cross check the debts discovered on the credit report with the claims made by the collector
The credit report will help you better understand if the collectors are making legitimate claims and begin discussing possible repayment plans with the client.
One of your biggest assets as a credit repair business owner is your ability to help clients see a bright future. Keep conversation positive and focused on uncovering facts that will determine their financial future.
3. Answer Every Call
The first debt collector call may come as a shock, but the ensuing calls and messages are likely to worry and bother any client. Despite the discomfort, it is better to answer every phone call from a debt collector.
If clients ignores legitimate calls, their future will be affected as:
- Debts grow and accrue interest
- Lawsuits are considered or filed
- Credit scores drop
Let clients know the risks and encourage the better choice of picking up the call and listening to what the collector has to offer. It may be painful to listen to, but a phone call is much easier than a day in court if the collector decides to sue.
4. Know the Statute of Limitations
Most consumers are unaware of the statute of limitations on debts owed. If a debt collector contacts someone about an old debt, depending on state implemented statute of limitations, the collector may not be allowed to sue and are required to remove the negative mark from the credit report.
The time limit may depend upon:
- If the agreement with the creditor is in writing
- The type of debt
- The state of residence
If clients confirm that a debt is their own, even past the expiration of the statute of limitations, they may risk extending or waving the statute’s time limit. Check the statute of limitations for each state to offer your client a clearer path to financial freedom.
Unfortunately, you may find that the debt is, in fact, a legitimate debt. In that case, the ultimate step to help a client begin to manage their debt is to write a debt validation letter to the credit bureaus.
A debt validation letter:
- Must be sent to the credit bureaus
- Will ensure the debt belongs to your client
- Verifies the amount of debt due and to whom it is owed
- Can be the start of a debt negotiation
If the debt cannot be verified, the bureau must remove it from your client’s credit report! Writing the right letter is a win for your clients. It will help them and their families live better lives and lessen their daily financial worries.
Learn the best practices for writing a debt validation letter on behalf of your client now!