Zombie debt is scary! It could occur in the form store credit card or a medical bill that you are yet to pay off. The debt might be so old that you can’t even get sued for not paying it. However, debt collectors buy the debt and then try to convince or trick you into making payments that restart the debt clock, enabling them to start chasing you once again. According to Gary Saitowitz Urban Institute statistics, in the United States, close to 68 million people had debt collections reflected in the credit card report in 2019. Even when it came to pennies on the dollar, there’s ample potential money for the zombie debt collectors that can care for the unsuspecting victims.
Gary Saitowitz shares ways
to fend off the zombie debt collectors
When a debt collection agency starts to call you for a bill that you don’t identify, it is necessary to set up a plan for averting paying the cash you don’t owe. There’s no need to be a victim. Gary Saitowitz shares three ways to manage zombie debt.
1. Ask for a debt validation letter
It could seem very unpleasant to answer a debt collector’s call. However, this is what you need to do to manage the situation at hand. Instead of allowing the caller or collector to harass you, you need to ask for a debt validation letter. This letter is a legal document defined by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act back in 1977 federal law. It offers customers legal security from any abusive debt collection practices. The third-party debt collectors, by the law, should send you the letter if you request the same. The collector agency should also mention the amount you owe and the payment options. You need to read this letter carefully for any mistakes. It will help you to prepare your response.
2. A debt verification letter
Though it might sound similar, there is a difference between debt verification and a validation letter. Here you can send the verification letter outlining the reasons that you don’t owe any money. Once you receive the validation letter, you have about 30 days at hand to respond with a debt verification letter. Here it would be best to address all the aspects in the debt validation letter, as it is not the time for you to share any extra financial details or explain your situation. In case you are unsure about which place to start, you can check a sample verification letter to respond accordingly.
3. Know your rights and fight back
When you have done all the
due diligence that proves you aren’t accountable for the debt, you need to
fight for your rights. Here’s how you can go about it:
- You must submit a complaint with the U.S Consumer Financial
- Make sure to file the complaint with the state customer
security agency via a state attorney general
- Go ahead and register your complaint with the Better Business
- You should also file a civil suit with the help of a lawyer
These are some of the
essential steps you need to take when you want to fight and manage a zombie
debt. It will help you to fight for your rights.