If creditors are becoming aggressive with you, know that you have a legal right to tell them to stop. Here are some tactful tips to get through their aggressive approach.
How a creditor can go about collecting a debt is governed by the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and in California, the Roshenthal Act. It is highly recommended that you research these laws to understand what your rights are.
When dealing with a bill collector, know that you have the power. Make them comply with you. If they call and become aggressive, remain calm and attempt to negotiate with them. This way you take control of the call.
If they threaten to take legal actions, ask them when they plan to take it, take detailed notes about it and thank them for the heads up. A debt collector cannot threaten to sue you unless they have the actual ability and intent to do so.
Do not cave into the pressures of their threats and give them your account number. Instead inform them that you are willing to work with them within your capacity. Make payments by money order. Avoid sending a personal checks because checks can be converted into electronic transactions. It could be dangerous.
Do not assume liability for the debt. Verify the claims first. When you get a letter in the mail or calls from creditors, the first thing you should do is get a credit report so that you can verify these claims yourself. Although the reports will not show debts that are not reported to credit agencies, but it is a good place to start.
In case the money owed is not yours you can write to the creditor and explain. Also, request detailed information of the origin of the debt and keep records of all communication.
Keep in mind that debt collectors are not allowed to tell others about your debt to people other than your spouse, attorney, or cosigner. They might call neighbors or relatives to locate you, but cannot tell them about your debt.