In normal circumstances, you should only receive collection calls when you owe a debt and they contact you to make arrangements for payment. Collection agencies are not out to get you, their objective is to validate the debt, Review the debt’s statute of limitations and if necessary, negotiate a settlement.
Collection agencies such as Zwicker & Associates purchase over-due debts from creditors and works on a contingency basis for major credit card issuers, including American Express. If you are wondering why Zwicker and Associates is calling you, it means you may be liable for a debt and it is wise to answer their calls to get the facts of the matter.
Gives you an opportunity to validate or dispute the debt
Collection agents are human; therefore mistakes are bound to happen from time to time. You want to avoid paying for a debt you do not owe or to revive an old debt that is way past the statute of limitations. When you receive a collection call do not accept responsibility for the debt and request a debt validation letter.
Debt collectors are required to send you a debt validation letter, upon your request, giving a summary of what the debt is, how much is owed and where it is from etc. In the event that you are unsure about the debt you are being contacted for; the onus is on you to send the debt collector a dispute letter, within 30 days of being contacted by the collection agent requesting more information.
According to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), consumers are well within their rights to dispute an invalid debt.
In the circumstances where the is a valid dispute, the collection agent must:
Stop collection activities with immediate effect, verify the actual amount of debt, confirm consumer information and share their finding with the consumer once concluded. In the instances where all of these requirements cannot be met and no validation is confirmed, Zwicker & Associates may not collect the disputed debt.
Review the debt’s statute of limitations
A statute of limitations applies to the restricted period creditors or debt collectors have to file a lawsuit to recover a debt. The majority of statutes of limitations fall within the three to the six-year range. However, in some jurisdictions, they may be extended for longer periods contingent on the type of debt. This is also influenced and indicated by the state laws.
In the case where the collector has validated the debt and can prove beyond reasonable doubt that you indeed owe the amount stated. You are liable for that debt and the responsibility to find out the rules regarding the statutes of limitations within your state, as other states may make provisions for longer statutes of limitations. So take the time to evaluate your options and do the necessary research to make sure you are on the safe side of the law.
Negotiate a settlement
As stated above, collectors are human beings, as such; there is room to negotiate to an amount you can afford. Debt negotiation is the process of bargaining with your creditors to find an amicable resolution and find either a new payment agreement at a reduced interest rate or a lump sum payment that’s significantly lower than the total balance.
Should you find yourself at the edge of bankruptcy with no other options, chances are your creditors will be willing to extend their negotiations to settle without going the legal route.
Knowing your money and your finances will free you from the shackles of being overly indebted and communicating with debt collectors lets you know where you stand whether you are owing, over the statute of limitations or if there is a rogue account you may need to attend to.
In conclusion, it is definitely worth your while to answer calls and find out why Zwicker and Associates is calling you.