Tips for Older Americans in Debt

After retirement, increasing amounts of debt can make it more difficult for older Americans to make payments on time. When a lapse in payment occurs, these accounts are often sent to collections and the borrower starts to receive contact from debt collectors.

If you or someone you know is receiving contact from a debt collector, take the following steps.

Ask the Collector to Validate the Debt

If you don’t recognize the debt or it seems inaccurate, ask the collector to provide you with a validation of the debt. Past due accounts are often sold to debt buyers making it difficult to determine the original creditor. By writing to the collector, you can request the name of the original creditor and an itemized calculation of the balance claimed, including principal, interest, late fees, etc.

Dispute Inaccurate Information

If you want to dispute the debt, you have 30 days after the debt collector’s initial contact to do so. Write to the collector and provide any documentation that supports your dispute. Request that the collector respond to your dispute in writing.

Stop Harassing Calls

Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), debt collectors can’t threaten, harass, or abuse you in the process of collecting a debt. They can’t give you false or misleading information about the debt or place personal information on, or visible through, an envelope.

If you feel that you’re being harasses, you can write to the collector and request they stop contacting you.  The collector must stop contact with you. However, it does not make the debt go away. The collection will likely be assigned to a new agency or law firm collector.

Be sure to keep a log of collection calls noting the date, time of day, name of collector & agency, Caller ID and details of the conversation or phone message.

Seek Free Legal Help

Flitter Milz is a nationally recognized consumer protection law firm that represents victims of abusive collection tactics.  Contact Us for a free legal consultation to determine whether your consumer rights have been violated.