Believe it or not, the average household debt is approximately $134,643 — an amount which can include mortgages, auto loans, credit cards and personal loan balances. Debt has continued to increase as cost of living increases. And as a result, many Americans rely on credit cards to pay for expenses they can’t necessarily afford.
If you’re in debt, the idea of paying it off probably feels overwhelming and unrealistic. It can be difficult to keep up with minimum payments while managing other everyday expenses. But if you make a long-term plan to pay off your debt, and stick with your plan, you’ll make significant progress toward your goal.
Five Steps to Address Debt
- Make more than minimum payments on credit card and loan balances
2. Prioritize your debts and pay off those with the highest interest rate first
3. Contact the creditor to see if you can make adjustments to your account. You may be able to change a payment due date or lower an interest rate, to accommodate your budget and income.
4. Evaluate personal items to liquidate. Use the funds to pay off or lower your debt
5. Create a budget and track your spending. Evaluate where you may be able to cut expenses. The money you save can be used to lower your debt.
Protection from Abusive Collectors
Contact from debt collectors can cause additional stress. You have rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). This federal law prohibits collectors from using deceptive, misleading abusive tactics to collect consumer debt. Under the FDCPA, debt collectors are not permitted to:
- Threaten or harass you
- Tell you false information about your debt
- Contact family and friends and disclose information about your debt
- Continue trying to collect from you if you requested they stop
But debt collectors may not always provide accurate information about your debt resort to unlawful tactics to get you to pay. If any information seems inaccurate, ask that the collector provide Validation or Itemization of the debt.
Seek Free Legal Help
Flitter Milz is a consumer protection law firm that represents consumers that have become victim of unfair collection practices by debt collectors and collection law firms. Whether you owe the debt of not, the collector must follow the law. Contact us to discuss your consumer rights.