There is no shortage of advice online centered around topics such as “How to outsmart your creditors” and “Tips for avoiding debt collectors.” If you are owed money, it might be helpful to know the information your debtors are accessing to keep you from getting what is yours. Following are some of the most common items of advice blogs, magazines and other outlets are serving up to debtors who are desperate to outsmart you.
“Run out the clock”
The statute of limitations on debts in California is generally four years (for written contracts). Some debtors try to run out the clock on the statute by hiding out, frequently moving, refusing to answer their phone or door for years and engaging in other evasive tactics. By taking swift action against your debtors, you can advance toward collecting before this statute expires. If the time is approaching, you can restart the clock by taking certain actions such as convincing the debtor to make a payment on the account.
“Ask them to verify the debt”
This advice counts on the creditor not having the proper paperwork, signatures and other information necessary to collect a debt. By keeping diligent records and implementing an organized approach to debt collection, you can fulfill all of your verification requirements and let the debtor know you have the receipts to back up your claims.
“Get them to break the law”
Some debtors are just waiting for you to make a mistake so they can turn the legal tables against you. Strong laws protect debtors, such as the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and, in California, the Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
Some debt collection activities these laws prohibit include:
- Calling the debtor at unusual hours
- Making false statements
- Repeatedly contacting the debtor’s family members
By knowing these laws front to back, you can avoid making a mistake that will let your debtor off the hook. If you have questions about the law or need help collecting from an elusive debtor, a strong legal ally can make a difference.