Debt collector phone calls and collection letters in the mail are never welcome yet must be dealt with all the same. For some, ignoring their debt is a direct result of not having the money to pay the debt. But know this: ignoring debt collectors will never remedy the situation. In fact, it could make it much worse. Debt doesn’t just disappear.
Debt collectors don’t give up. They’re very motivated to hound you until the debt is collected. Why? Because collecting your debt is their source of income. Actually, they make money only if you pay the debt. Collection agencies get paid based on the amount they collect from you. Ignoring debt has many downsides.
Ignoring debt collectors won’t make them go away
Under new proposed rules, debt collectors could soon be able to send texts, emails and private-messages to collect on their debts — on an unlimited basis. Creditors will also continue to report nonpayment to the credit bureaus.
Verifying the debt is legitimate
You have the right to request validation of the debt under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. You should definitely find out if what they’re saying you owe as a debt is actually legitimate and whether the amount is correct. If you learn that it’s not legitimate, contact the collection agency right away to dispute the debt.
Missed opportunities to settle the debt
Interest, collection costs, and legal fees will be added and, of course, will increase with time. Seize the opportunity to make a payment arrangement with the debt collector. You may even be able to settle the debt for less than the original amount. But you must communicate with the collector to accomplish this.
Don’t get sued
A debt collector may file a lawsuit against you to collect on the debt. In most cases, this is just a matter of time. If you ignore the lawsuit, the creditor will obtain a default judgment against you. Wage garnishment is likely to follow. Any money in your bank account can also be garnished.
Debt doesn’t just disappear
Ignoring debt is like having a false safety net. It’s a progressively slippery slope. Obtain your credit report so you can make a comprehensive debt assessment. Prioritize your debt and make a realistic payment plan. You must contact the collectors and negotiate.
If you’re not able to reach an agreement or repayment isn’t feasible, then it may be time to contact a bankruptcy attorney. A legal professional can inform you of all of your options and help you obtain a new financial start.