Debt is a reality for millions of people living in Mississippi and across the country. According to the National Consumer Law Center and the Consumer Federal Protection Bureau, 70 million people nationwide interacted with a debt collector during the year 2017. One third of American adults had some type of debt in collections during 2016. It can be stressful for people who are struggling to pay their bills to have to speak with debt collection services, but there are some ways to make it easier.
First, it is important for the debtor to know his or her rights. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, creditors are prohibited from calling people outside of certain hours. They are also limited in the number of calls they can make and prohibited from harassing people. If a debt collector violates the FDCPA, there may be actionable claims for damages.
Second, it is important for people to verify that the debt collector is legitimate. There are a number of organizations in operation that are not the real owners of a debt but targeting people to scam them. It is simple to check the legitimacy of a debt collector with the Better Business Bureau or an online search.
Third, it is important to get the original paperwork associated with a particular debt. The contract that governs the debt can contain provisions that give a debtor rights, and it is generally necessary to show that a debt is legitimate.
People in Mississippi have options when it comes to dealing with debts and debt collectors. A lawyer may help people who are struggling to pay bills by suggesting avenues to reduce or eliminate debts, including filing for bankruptcy protection in some cases. A lawyer might be able to negotiate with creditors to reduce the amount of debts outstanding or arrange better payment terms.