There is such a thing as the “Debt Collection Guidance” that debt collectors must follow, which you also need to be aware of in case you are under some financial duress. This is not to say that you should find a way to avoid paying your debts but even though you do owe money to credit companies, you still should not be treated in a bad way because of their unfair debt collection methods. Being well informed is the key to solving your financial troubles one step at a time. Know what you can do if a debt collector harasses you.
If you are unable to make an agreement to pay smaller installments to settle your debts with your original creditor and you have no way of keeping up with the current payments, your loan account will passed on to a debt collection agency whose main task is to collect the money you owe. These debt collectors often resort to unfair practices that lead to harassments on your part. It may range from annoying phone calls to endless letters of demand for payment and some may even approach you in person at home, in your office or just about wherever they can find you. Once this happens, you don’t only have to deal with your debts, you also now have to manage the stress and shame that they will surely bestow upon you.
What You Can Do
Let them know and understand your situation. At least this is the first thing you have to do to try to control the situation. If it is really hard for you to make ends meet at this time, tell them and come up with an arrangement that would be easy for you to keep now or for a later time when you are able. Do not let them pressure you into agreeing to make monthly payments that you think you cannot keep because this will add more fuel to the fire and will result to more harassment. If in case they visit you at home, you don’t have to let them in. Tell them how you want to be contacted and what hours. Don’t hide or don’t try to avoid them. Communicate clearly and effectively with the debt collector that’s after you.
When you are still unsure of what you need to do to resolve your debts, contact your local Citizens Advice. Talk to them so they can help you make a plan and suggest some resources that you can take advantage of. Citizens Advice is a non-profit organization that helps people with whatever issues and many that have financial difficulties turn to this office for guidance. Your contact with them will remain confidential so you don’t have to be worried about being judged.
You can get more information from the Office of Fair Trading. There are very specific points that you can get from the OFT that you can use to avoid being harassed by debt collection agencies. These collection agencies have rules to follow to keep you protected so keep that in mind and don’t let them intimidate you.