DES MOINES, Iowa, March 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Debt buyers, who often buy a creditor's debt for pennies on the dollar, help reduce creditor's losses and allow them to provide more credit at lower prices. While it plays an important role in making more credit available, often the practice stirs up increased issues for consumers. To help people better understand how they may be at risk, ARAG®, a global provider of legal solutions, is making its Debt Collection Guidebook available to anyone faced with credit issues so they can protect their rights and know what steps they need to take next.
"The challenge for many consumers is they too often assume they are at fault if a debt collector calls," says Ann Dieleman, ARAG Chief Marketing Officer. "Debt buyers frequently receive insufficient information with the debt and consequently approach the wrong consumer, attempt to collect the wrong amount, or both. Consumers need to be more aware of debt-buying practices and carefully research any past debt that becomes involved in collection."
If you believe a debt collector is violating legal restrictions, you can assert the following rights:
You can make the collector give you evidence to verify its claims about the debt.
- Notify the collector in writing, within 30 days of initial contact, that you dispute the debt.
- Demand in writing, within 30 days of initial contact, the name and address of the original creditor for the claimed debt.
- Demand in writing, within 30 days of initial contact, that the collector send you verification of the debt.
- Demand in writing that the collector cease collection activities until the requested verification information is provided to you.
You can end the debt collection calls with you once and for all.
- Notify the collector in writing at any time that you refuse to pay the claimed debt or that you want the collector to cease any further communications with you.
- After you send a written termination notice, the collector is allowed (but not obligated) to contact you to inform you that it is terminating its efforts to collect the debt, that it may pursue available remedies, or that it intends to pursue available remedies.
You can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) if the debt collector has violated any of the FDCPA's requirements.
- Consumers may file complaints with the FTC via its toll-free hotline (1-877-FTC-HELP), online complaint forms, or United States mail.
- Review your state's law to find what your state prohibits or requires of debt collectors, how you can get the state law enforced and whether there is a civil remedy you can take.
If you want a collector to stop contacting you:
- Note the date, time, name, company and phone number. Tell them in a professional manner you do not want to be contacted by them any further.
- If future contact takes place, contact the Federal Trade Commission
An additional safeguard against debt collectors violating legal restrictions is to check into legal insurance, generally available as a voluntary benefit through your workplace. Comprehensive legal plans, such as those offered by ARAG, provide members with educational resources to prevent consumer fraud including guidebooks, tip sheets and access to specialists trained to prevent and resolve identity theft.
ARAG ® (www.ARAGgroup.com) provides affordable legal solutions through trusted service to help people protect what matters most.
ARAG is a world leader in legal protection services. The company has an international premium base of nearly $2 billion and protects 15.5 million individuals and their families.
ARAG's North American headquarters are based in Des Moines, Iowa. We are committed to providing our customers a choice of legal solutions to help them live a life full of opportunities. We demonstrate expertise, integrity and passion in everything we do to serve our customers and make a positive difference in our community. We are proud to sponsor ARAG Free Will Day, providing low and middle income citizens with free access to attorneys for the creation of important legal documents to protect their family, finances and future.
We've earned both a Top 100 Call Center title (2010-11) and the prestigious Center of Excellence Award for an unprecedented six years running (2007-2012). Additionally, ARAG is recognized as a Best Places to Work in Insurance (2009-2012) by Business Insurance magazine. This esteemed honor is based on workplace culture and employee feedback.
For more news and information about ARAG, visit ARAGgroup.com.