Myth No. 6: If you're in debt, collectors' efforts will make sure everyone around you finds out
"Not true at all," says Udis. In fact, just the opposite.
"Under federal law, they cannot discuss the debt," she says. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act prohibits collectors from even disclosing that there is a debt, Udis says.
So while a debt collector could conceivably call friends or family to find you, he or she may only call one time, she says. Collectors are not even allowed to say they're calling because of a debt, she adds. And that reason doesn't hold water if they already have your contact information.
While the federal law applies to third-party collectors (companies collecting debt for the original creditor or companies who buy the debt), some states also impose the same confidentiality restrictions on the original creditors, says Rheingold.
Worried about your job if a creditor gets a judgment to garnish your salary? Again, you're protected, says Udis. Federal law prohibits employers from firing employees because they're having wages garnished, she says.
Myth No. 7: Telling debt collectors to 'buzz off' means they can't call you
Again, half right. You have the right to tell collectors (verbally) not to call you at work, and they are required to obey, says Tracy S. Thorleifson, attorney at the Federal Trade Commission.
You also have the right to ask them not to contact you again, and they have to comply. But to invoke that right (granted under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act), you want to put the request in writing, says Udis. After that, the collector is barred from contacting you again.
One right you don't give up with a "drop dead" letter: Collectors still have to serve notice if they file a lawsuit.
Don't want to draft your own letter just to tell collectors to go away? The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has issued a series of debt collection sample letters.
Myth No. 8: Divorce decrees split debts into piles of 'his' and 'hers'
Definitely a myth. Sometimes divorce courts will parcel out the payment of debts (joint and otherwise) during a divorce. (She pays the card bill; he pays the house note, etc.)
But "the court order is between you and the ex-spouse," says Hillebrand. "It doesn't change the obligation you have with the credit card company."
When you walk into court with your name on certain bills and obligations, you are just as responsible to those creditors when you walk out, Udis says.
The best options for joint debt during a divorce are to either pay it all off before the divorce is final or contact the creditors to put the entire obligation solely in one name.
Whichever move you opt for, get proof in writing and hang onto it.
Myth No. 9: You can 'inherit' debts
Totally wrong. Unless a friend or family member of the deceased was already liable for a debt before the death (think joint debts or community property situations), they're not responsible for it after the death, says Robert Hobbs, deputy director of the National Consumer Law Center.
Debts can't be reassigned by creditors or collectors after death or "inherited," he adds.
What is supposed to happen: Once the creditors find out someone has died, they contact the estate and ask to be paid. The estate pays the applicable bills and distributes the assets, says Hobbs.
The best move: If you're getting calls from creditors or collectors insisting you've "inherited" debts, it may be time to chat with an attorney.
More from CreditCards.com:
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When/If collectors call, tell them you don't accept "collection" calls at that number, and hang up.
The best advice given in the article is if you do communicate with a creditor/collection agency, do it in writing - and, be careful of your terminology. It can be tough to deal with resolving a bad situation and get hung up in semantics. "You said this." "Yes, but I meant this." Creditors/collectors like to use "immediacy" as a weapon against you. There are time frames in which to respond to a demand/deal/settlement/offer/court summons/etc. By all means, if you intend to attempt to resolve a matter, act in "good faith". However, DO NOT agree to anything unless you have a surety you can deliver and they will honor their end of the deal.
Myth No. 10: The debt collection agencies give a hoot about collection or harassment laws.
Priceless advice given to wise lil' boys and girls by men and women who survived to thrive after the Great Depression: Cash is king and debt is for only fools and the unfortunate.
(That the banksters and the marketplace tell you otherwise points up just how true it is.)
Why is there all sorts of "protection" for people who can't live within their means?
All these people tell you the way it is and if I wanted a expert to contact and talk about my $63.00 collections from Tmobile that popped on my credit, note my bill is paid in full every month with a zero balance, but somehow I started to get notice in the mail from some shady collections company in Florida, I asked someone I know who owns a repo company and she said they are shady, and tmobile said yes I owe them $63.00. So I ask why when you know my address and I get my tmobile bill every month in the mail. They said Oh, maybe you moved and it went to the old address. I said are you guys kidding me?, I changed my address the day I moved, and tmobile sends me the bill every month To my new address.
I want to just pay it because my credit score dropped 105 points from this collections. BUT<BUT, I want a credit expert who is talked about in this article make sure for me I do it right to remove it. I was 702 and now I find out the collections is on one of the 3 credit scores 2 times for $63.00 and the same one for $62.00. WTF??
I am going to get back into the housing market 2014. However the following Credit Report's have given me a credit score of 650, 635,630. They have reported old credit record of things that are 10 yrs, 15 yrs & 17 yrs, old. I want to write them to ask them to make corrections on my credit score / reports. Is there a template that I can write from to get them to correct those's 10 yrs,15yrs, 17 yrs,report up date or remove. Are they under the US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or FICO / Consumer Financial Protection Burea.
Just want a good floor mat to follow to write to correct there over 10 years past credit history statement / reports.
My (actually half) brother had a car dealership try that inherited debt once. His father died (same mother), and his father had a car loan... So my brother drove the car back to the dealership, turned over the keys, and they tried to tell him that since his father died, the debt was now his, and he'd have to pay.
My brother told them this wasn't the case, and they went to argue. He then pulled out his badge (he was a cop, in the city), and informed them of the law, and that as an officer he knows the law quite well. They're not going to pull one over on a cop who's job is law enforcement, and told the dealer to have a nice day....
There is one itsy bitsy little matter for people to consider though, if they do have an old debt. It might not be on your credit report, it might not count against you. But if it's a company you WANT to do business with again, you might just want to pay it off. Statute of limitations and all, what it was, if you owed them money and didn't pay; they might just NOT WANT to do any further business with you, simply because you would have cost them money. You might not be legally obligated to pay, but then again, they aren't legally obligated to accept you as a customer again.
It would be a consideration for anyone, who might find themselves in that situation ;) Just a word to the wise there :)
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