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Dealing with debt collectors during the pandemic

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Job losses have traveled hand-in-hand with the Coronavirus. If you’re having trouble paying your bills, you’re not alone. Here are a few things to keep in mind if a debt collector calls.

Logo, which says "Financial Impact of the Coronavirus" Consider talking with the collector at least once, even if you can’t pay right away or don’t think you owe the money. That way, you can confirm whether it’s really your debt. If it is, you may be able to work out a payment plan or settlement.

Collectors have to follow rules when they contact you. Watch the short video at the end of this post to learn about these rules. During the Coronavirus emergency, the federal government and many state and local governments also have put special programs in place that may help you manage your debt:

  • The Department of Education (ED) has temporarily stopped the collection of federally-owned student loans that are in default. In fact, whether or not you’re in default, if you have federal student loans, you don’t need to pay your monthly payments from March 13 through September 30, 2020, and interest also has been suspended. Visit ED’s website to learn more.
  • Some states are limiting what collectors can do during this emergency. For example, you’ve probably heard about the $1,200 economic stimulus payments that most people will get as a direct deposit to their bank account. If a debt collector or a creditor has sued you, they may have a garnishment order that would let them seize the payment when it reaches your account. Some states, however, are temporarily making debt collection seizures like this illegal. Check with your state attorney general to find out about any emergency limits on debt collection actions in your state. (A new IRS “Get My Payment” tool lets you track the payment to your account.)
  • Many state and local governments have temporarily halted actions like evictions, foreclosures, and water and utility shutoffs. Contact your state and local government to find out about emergency protections that may apply to you.

If the collection calls get to be too much, you can stop them. Just send the collector a letter telling them to stop contacting you. Keep a copy for your records. Stopping the calls won’t cancel the debt. You still might be sued or have debt reported to a credit bureau. But, stopping the calls may give you time to regroup, then start working your way toward financial recovery.

Drawing of a debt collector on the phone. Click to play debt collection video.

Tagged with: debt, debt collection, loan
Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Comments

844-804-8467 / 646-480-0521 and 425-754-1401 are debt collection scammer that broke the law and needed to be held accountable. They life threatened people for money.

You can report that to the FTC at www.FTC.gov/Complaint. The information you give will go into a secure database that the FTC and other law enforcement agencies use for investigations.

What if I have a debt to the IRS and they continue taking payments, I can no longer afford. They won't even take a call

I got a call this morning @ 8:01am from a company about a debt owed for having to break my lease early. (This was due to unforeseen circumstances)
I spoke to them about a month ago and they were friendly stating that if I can pay a certain amount now they will be able to work with me on payments after I get my finances under control. I did the payment they asked for last month eventhough it was large and had to borrow money :(.
This time wanted they wanted the same large amount. When I told them what I could afford they said that if I didn't give them that large amount it would go to collections. He was unable to give me any information as to whether they are doing anything for people effected by this pandemic and refused to let me speak with his superiors stating that I would have to find that information online myself, then swiftly hung up on me.
Was he in the right by threatening to send it to collections unless I pay the larger amount? Also, not giving me any other way to contact them? I am willing to give what I can, but cannot afford what he was telling me I had to pay. I do not want this going to collections

I'm currently out of work because of covid. I'm now being hassled by my HOA to do spring up keep/ cosmetic repairs to the property or face fines. I emailed them said I was out of work and losing my home this is the last thing I can do during this hardship. To weeks later I was given a $100 citation for parking wrong. I don't have the money I'm worried they will balloon the fees as they stated on the fine.

hospital calling about my ER visit in Dec 2019. This was when the virus first came to the U.S and no one knew about it. I can't believe they're calling to collect debt

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