Dealing with Debt collectors is something most consumers dread. There is nothing good about this experience, yet if you know you have a past-due debt such as an unpaid credit card, or student loan or medical debt, then you know that dreaded phone call is coming soon.
Professionals such as credit counselors, state regulators, and debt collectors all agree that ignoring calls from collection agencies is a terrible idea. It's best to just deal with the issue at hand and come to an agreeable solution, otherwise you may just make things worse than they already are.
Actually, it is better to avoid debt collectors altogether if you can. But, if you are already receiving calls from them, you are in the right place.
I have compiled ten incredible tips that will help you deal with Transworld Systems or any other credit collector easily and efficiently. In addition, this review looks at your rights as a consumer and how you can deal with any violations of these rights.
But, first, let us understand who Transworld Systems are。
Who are they?
Transworld Systems Inc., or TSI, is a third-party debt collection agency that is based in Northern California. They work with both individuals and large companies/organizations to help them in collecting on past due accounts.
They have over 50 years of experience in this industry, and have collected more than $6billion in debts for their clients, and worked with more than 60,000 clients in the last ten years.
It is, therefore, a legitimate debt collection company that began its operations more than forty years ago, and have made their name as an established collections company in the US.
On the BBB – Better Business Bureau website, the company has an A rating, which is a representation of the interactions they have had with their clients.
In addition to the rating, the BBB has received more than 288 complaints against TSI Company in the last three years. Most of the complaints have to do with violations of the FDCPA rights that I shall be talking about later on.
Here are the ten tips of dealing with Transworld Systems
1. Understand your rights as a consumer
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has had several publications that are designed to educate consumers on their rights under the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA)
Harassing and nuisance phone calls, use of abusive language and threats should never be used against a consumer when trying to collect on an overdue debt.
Here is a summary of what a debt collection agency MUST never do。
- They are prohibited from using harmful and unfair tactics when trying to collect a debt.
- They should never contact anybody who is not the owner of the debt.
- They shouldn't threaten you with referral to an attorney, wage garnishment, or harm your credit without an actual intent or act on the threat.
- They should not call you at unreasonable times, such as before 8 am, or after 9 pm.
- They should not contact you at your place of work if you have specifically asked them not to do so.
- They should not place calls to inform on you to your employer or disclose any aspect of your debt to others.
- They should not use profane or obscene language during their calls.
- They should not send collection letters which appear to be from a government office or a court.
- They should not threaten to arrest you if the debt remains unpaid.
2. Don't ignore them
Do not ignore phone calls or letters from debt collectors, or any court notices that have to do with debt lawsuits.
You are allowed by the FDCPA laws to send written requests for the debt collectors to validate and verify the debts they are asking you to pay, and this must be done within 30 days.
Don't dawdle if the debt doesn't belong to you, and hence, you are not required to pay them even a single cent until they have verified the debt and given you tangible evidence, that should include not only your name but also your signature to show proof that you owe the debt.
Debt collectors have a right to send negative information to credit bureaus who will post it on your credit report and destroy your credit score.
3. Request for a Debt Validation
The first thing you should do when you receive that ill-fated telephone call from Coast Professional is to request for the debt to be validated, even before you pay or enter into any repayment agreement with them.
This is your legal right and has clearly been outlined by the FDCPA.
This is a letter that gives you clear information and details of the debt, the creditor who reported it, and all supporting documentation that will prove that you did indeed take out the debt.
In essence, what you are saying to Transworld Systems Inc., is that; they must first prove this is your debt, show me the paperwork, and then we may be able to discuss payment. After all, you did not do any business directly with them; they just showed up one-day demanding money.
It's most effective to make your debt validation request in writing and send it using certified mail, with return receipt requested. This way, you'll have evidence you made your validation request, and they received it.
You see, they're required to respond by providing you with the paperwork, documents, and evidence that proves this is your account. This paperwork should show you all the details about the debt, such as who the original creditor was, the principal balance, the dates of account activity, etc.
If they fail to validate your debt, then in compliance with the FDCPA, you're no longer legally responsible for payment. And this failure to validate can be for any reason, as simple as them misplacing your paperwork.
4. Find a good consumer lawyer
If you have been served with a notice for a lawsuit, find an attorney that specializes in this kind of lawsuits.
The National Association of Consumer Advocates provides an attorney lookup page on its website.
Consumers who have lost their court judgments may end up having their wages garnished, and their properties sold to settle the debt.
5. Ensure to keep good records
You MUST keep records of all correspondence between you and the debt collectors, and this includes recording all phone conversations and ensuring that the person with whom you spoke with identifies themselves for better follow-up.
Some financial experts advise that you should keep these records as long as you can keep your tax documents.
Creditors usually sell off loans to third party debt collectors, and if these debt collectors are unable to collect on the loan, they might sell them off to yet another debt collector, and another one, and another one, and so on.
Record keeping often falls by the wayside during these many sell-offs, and as such, many sold debts tend to have errors on the amounts owed and even who owns them.
Therefore, debt collection practices tend to have the largest customer complaints with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
In 2016, the CFPB had more than 88,000 complaints, and one of the chief complaints was consumers being asked to pay off a debt they did not owe.
Gather your own records and documents concerning the debt and compare what you have with what you have received. You must ensure you have information on the original creditor and any history of payments so far.
Ensure to keep all records of communication with the debt collector, including all phone calls, and the person to whom you spoke with. If you are to reply to any of their queries through the mail, use certified mail.
6. Safeguard your bank documents
Debt collectors can file suit against consumers for nonpayment of debts.
Freezing savings or checking accounts is one of the court-ordered options for collecting debts. This can be extremely problematic for family budgets and cash flow, and experts advise having separate bank accounts for funds such as Social Security or disability checks, which are exempt and cannot be used as a source of court-ordered debt payments.
Let collectors know if your bank account contains only exempt funds, experts say. Also tell them if you have filed for bankruptcy, which puts debt collection efforts on hold.
7. Negotiating a Settlement
If your account has been validated, and it is within the statute of limitations, the next step you should take is to negotiate for a settlement agreement directly with Transworld Systems Inc. It is advisable to do this in writing in two parts;
First: you will need to negotiate to pay less than the total debt balance. Often, you shall be able to pay as little as 15% or up to 45% of the debt balance. The exact amount will depend on the type of debt you have in collections and how old it is.
Second: The second part of the agreement is extremely critical. In exchange for your payment, Transworld Systems Inc., must agree to stop reporting the account to the credit bureaus, to ensure that it doesn't appear on your credit report and mess up your credit score.
8. Get it in writing
Any agreements for making debt collection payments should be confirmed in writing and signed by a representative of the debt collector before sending in any payments.
This avoids misunderstandings about the amounts to be paid or time to make payments.
9. Certify that mail
Letters can be lost in the mail.
Most experts advise sending all correspondence with debt collectors via certified mail; some suggest getting a return receipt as proof that your letter was received.
10. Debt management
Find an accredited counseling agency.
The two major accrediting agencies for credit counselors are the National Foundation for Credit Counseling and the Financial Counseling Association of America. Work out a payment plan that works for your family budget. The FTC advises consumers to avoid for-profit credit repair companies.
The above ten points are what you can use to deal with any debt collector that comes your way. What you need to understand, however, is that you have rights, and no one MUST ever violate these rights.
Keep yourself updated with the flow of communication between you and the debt collectors, and ensure that you keep a record of everything as you may need it one day in a court of law, or simply to prove that you paid the loan.
One other thing you need to consider is that statute of limitations for your state. Different states have different SOL, and as such, you may not know when your liability expires.
Other debt collections agencies such as Aargon Agency Inc. and Credit Collection Services can also buy off your debt, and it would be wise if you understood how to deal with them as well. Check out those blog posts that I have written about them.