When New Jersey residents get behind on their bills, it can be overwhelming. Creditors and debt collectors begin calling, which only adds to the stress and frustration people who are having trouble with their finances are already feeling. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, writing a letter to each company will stop harassing phone calls from creditors. However, before taking that step, consumers should verify the details of the debt they supposedly owe to each creditor.
Debt collectors do not always have the correct information regarding a consumer’s debt. In addition, some debt collection calls are actually scams. During the first call, a consumer should obtain the full name and address of the debt collector and the original creditor and the account number for the debt they are attempting to collect. The consumer has the right to request a written validation of the debt.
The debt collector must provide this information within five days of the first contact unless it was previously provided. By law, certain information must be provided in that letter. The consumer may contest the debt within 30 days of that written communication.
This information will come in handy if a New Jersey resident decides to file bankruptcy, which is another way to stop harassing phone calls from creditors. The automatic stay begins when the petition is filed and halts all collection efforts during the proceedings. Moreover, the more complete the petition is, the better off the consumer will be in the end. If any debt is not included, the filer will still be responsible for it after the bankruptcy is closed — even if it would have qualified for discharge.
Source: wspa.com, “Consumer Rights: What You Should Know To Save You Time And Money“, Diane Lee, June 17, 2015