How to Research Debt Collectors & Understand the Law

DebtThis is the first guest post in a special How to Fight Debt Collectors series on

So you’ve received a debt collection call or letter…

In this day and age where you have rampant foreclosures, layoffs and job losses, it is simply inevitable that an individual may come across a debt collector, and frankly even without these external factors, it may just happen by a chance wrong number or even being related to someone going through a hard time financially. Many people have questions and are unprepared to deal with this, but after reading this series of articles, you will be. I will detail the key steps you should take to secure your rights, aggressively defend yourself, and ultimately make the debt collectors pay YOU to go away. This is not your typical “just pay your bills and get a second job” column, so please read on.

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How to Fight Debt Collectors Series

List of Credit Card Debt Starting next week, we will be publishing a series of articles in a new feature series called How to Fight Debt Collectors. I’ve tapped the expertise of Craig Cunningham, known as Codename47 on the Fatwallet Forums, who has been a citizen warrior in the fight against debt collectors. If you have a debt collection problem and you post it on the Fatwallet Finance Forums, the first name that everyone recommends you message is Codename47. If you do a search on his name on Fatwallet, you’ll see he’s out there helping everyone being hounded by a debt collector.

This guy is a real deal.

I’ve written about how to fight debt collectors in the past, but I wanted to put together a dedicated series authored by a true expert. For that, I tapped the most experienced, knowledgeable, battle-tested person I knew. We were strangers before the process started but I’m glad to have made his acquaintance and had the benefit of learning from his experience.

In this series, Codename47 will be discussing the advice on how to fight back against debt collectors. This is the same advice he uses when helping folks on Fatwallet, just distilled into article form, and it’ll cover tactics such as how to conduct background research on the collector, how to confirm they are following state and local laws, how to craft a good dispute letter (keep it simple stupid), how you should document violations so you can take them to court, and other parts of the process only a seasoned veteran can know.

This won’t be a guide for people looking to get out of legitimate debts. It’s going to advise you of your rights under the law and protect you from being harassed. I feel personal accountability is always important and that one should fulfill their financial obligations, but not at the expense of your liberties (or sanity).

As the articles are published I will link to them here so bookmark this page, or subscribe to the RSS feed, if you want to ensure you don’t miss an article.

Debt Collection Articles

  1. How to Research Debt Collectors & Understand the Law If you have a debt collector calling you, it’s important that you conduct background research on them and familiarize yourself with the debt collection laws in your state.
  2. Writing Your Debt Collection Dispute Letter – Is the debt legitimate? Are they the ones who would be collecting? Make them prove it to you with a dispute letter.
  3. What Constitutes Debt Validation? – You sent your debt dispute letter and they responded, but was the response a legitimate and adequate validation of your debt?
  4. Case Study: Classic Debt Collection Story – A reader shares with us her experience with a debt collector and Craig gives his post-mortem debriefing on how he would’ve handled it differently.
  5. When Debt Collectors Violate the FDCPA – So you sent a letter, told them that calling was “inconvenient,” but the collectors still call… what do you do when debt collectors violate the FDCPA? Read and find out.
  6. What are Junk Debt Buyers? – Many of the debt collectors that operate today bought the debt, sometimes known as junk debt, from another party. Find out how it all works and how you might benefit from knowing if the collector is a junk debt buyer.
  7. Understanding 1st Party and 3rd Party Collectors – Not all debt collectors are created equal, find out the difference between a 1st party and 3rd party debt collector.
  8. How to Sue Debt Collectors – Now that they’ve broken the law, take them to court.

(Photo: pumpkinjuice)

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