Asking The Original Lender
The lender you originally had the account with may be able to tell you which collection agency purchased or otherwise acquired your account. However, it’s also possible the account has been transferred to a third agency, and in that case, your original lender is unlikely to be of assistance.
Before paying, ask the debt collector to send proof of the debt in the form of a written debt validation letter.
It’s also possible the original lender will not accept payment from you or even discuss the account with you. Once a lender sells a debt, there’s often very little they can do to settle the account. To make a payment, you’ll likely need to contact the collection agency to find out what you owe and how to pay the balance.
Speak To One Of Our Financial Counsellors
If your problem still hasnt been solved, or you are feeling overwhelmed and need some help, you can speak with one of our financial counsellors.
Financial counsellors arent judgmental about your circumstances theyre here to offer you free, confidential and independent advice and assistance.
To speak to a financial counsellor you can:
- Use our live chat service by clicking the chat icon in the bottom right corner of your screen. Live chat is available 9:00am-8.00pm weekdays. If you send a message outside these hours a financial counsellor will get back to you.
- Make an appointment to see a financial counsellor in your local area. Find a local financial counsellor on this map.
How To Find Out What Debt Collectors You Owe Quick Guide
For free and impartial money advice and guidance, visit MoneyHelper, to help you make the most of your money.
If youve recently moved to a different residence or just simply have not heard from your creditors in a while, its a good idea to look up what debts you have and who you owe them to.
Your debt is something that should definitely not be ignored.
In fact, its something you should always stay on top of because if you dont, it can catch you off-guard.
Having a good idea of what debts you have along with other financial information can give you a very clear overview of your situation and thus, can give you insight into how you can begin tackling your debt problem.
When you change residence or change contact information, its quite likely that youll lose touch with your creditors.
This can sometimes mean that you lose track of the debts you have.
If youre unsure about how you can find out what debts you owe and to which debt collectors, Ive listed down some of the ways through which you can find this information.
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What Is A Debt Buyer
In todayâs economy, many creditorsâincluding credit card companies, utilities, phone companies, banks, and lendersâregularly sell to debt buyers old debts that they have been unable to collect. The creditors package these old debts into portfolios, which they sell to debt buyers for pennies on the dollar. It is not uncommon for a debt buyer to pay less than five cents per dollar owed.
The debt buyer purchases from the creditor an electronic file, or âdatastream,â of information about the portfolio of debts. The debt buyer usually does not purchase copies of individual contracts or account statements to substantiate that the individuals whose names are included in the portfolio actually owe the money.
Once the portfolio of old debt is bought, the debt buyer either aggressively pursues an individual for payment of the supposed underlying debts, or re-sells the portfolio to another debt buyer. When collecting, debt buyers often cast a wide net to find people who owe money.
Letters And Emails From Creditors
You may also check some letters or emails from your creditors. Most creditors are likely to inform you about your debts through a letter of an email. The information may contain your account numbers as well as your balances.
If youve moved to another address without letting your creditor know, you may check your old address and see if a mail was delivered. If it happens, you can notify them to an updated address if possible.
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How Do You Find Out Which Collection Agencies You Actually Owe And Need To Repay
Your credit report is a good place to start to find a list of collection agencies you owe. If the account has been updated recently, that’s a good indication your credit report shows the correct agency. If you have bills you know have gone unpaid but they aren’t listed on your credit report, contact the original creditor to find out to whom they’ve assigned or sold the account.
Many Hands Make Light Work
One wise step in the process of getting out of debt is to meet with a , though this option is much more helpful if you do it before you’re desperate. A credit counselor will provide many helpful tips and make sure that you’re on the right track with your repayment plans.
They may also provide support when you meet with your creditors, adding some professional weight to any negotiating you want to do. That said, be wary of credit specialists who charge high fees while churning through an equally large volume of clients.
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How Long Do You Have Before A Collection Agency Reports To Credit Bureaus
Debt collectors can report your information to credit bureaus after following certain rules for informing you about the debt. If your debt has been handed over to a collection agency, and the agency has contacted you personally or sent you a validation notice, you should expect that information to be reported almost immediately. Grace periods are typically reserved for those with an otherwise good credit history, such as someone who missed a single payment and settled it within a few days.
Organizing Your Debt Accounts
Having a list of your debts gives you a better idea of where you stand, but a list of debts can be hard to act on. By prioritizing the figures on your list, you have a roadmap to guide your debt journey. For example, if you’re following the debt snowball method, you’d organize your list of debts from the lowest balance to the highest. Or you might decide to pay off bad debts firstthose with high interest rates then focus on getting rid of your less-expensive debt.
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What Goes Into A Credit Score
Each company has its own way to calculate your credit score. They look at:
- how many loans and credit cards you have
- how much money you owe
- how long you have had credit
- how much new credit you have
They look at the information in your credit report and give it a number. That is your credit score.
It is very important to know what is in your credit report. If your report is good, your score will be good. You can decide if it is worth paying money to see what number someone gives your credit history.
Your credit history is important. It tells businesses how you pay your bills. Those businesses then decide if they want to give you a credit card, a job, an apartment, a loan, or insurance.
Find out what is in your report. Be sure the information is correct. Fix anything that is not correct.
What To Do If The Debt Really Is Yours
If it ends up that the debt really is yours and needs to be paid, make sure to consider your options carefully. If you cant afford to pay everything thats owed all at once and they say they wont accept anything except payment-in-full, you may still have options.
For example, debts in collections may still be able to be included in a debt management program even if its with a third-party collector. It may be worth it to talk to a credit counselor to see if they can negotiate on your behalf to include that debt in a debt management program.
If you have delinquent debts that you need to pay off, we may be able to help. Call to request a free, no-obligation debt evaluation.
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It’s My Debt I’ll Do It
Getting out of debt usually means making some painful decisions. If you’re simply too far behind, it might be time for some drastic measures. The softest cuts come in the form of substitutionone-ply for two, a walk in the park for a gym membership, a “staycation” over a vacation.
Harder cuts come in the form of selling whichever non-essential items you can live without. Any money raised from selling non-essential stuff should go toward a lump-sum payment against your highest interest loan.
Don’t close your credit cards when you are in debt. Closing cards reduces the overall amount of credit available to you and increases your , two things that can hurt your credit score.
How To Tell If Your Debt Was Sold Off To A Collection Agency
When a debt is sold off, it may be difficult to track down the collection agency that owns it, given that there are over 7000 debt collection agencies in the US, according to IBISWorld.
Your bank can sell the legal rights to your debt to any of the agencies, but you typically won’t know they did unless they notify you. If they fail to notify you, you may end up receiving a call from an unknown agency requesting you to pay them. When this happens, here’s how to verify who owns your debt:
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How Can You Dig Yourself Out Of Real Estate Debt
In 2020, U.S. mortgage debt ballooned out into trillions of dollars. If your mortgage debt is too high, there are a few steps you can take to help lower it. First, if your credit score is high enough, ask your mortgage lender about refinancing your mortgage for a lower percentage rate. By doing so, you might be able to lower your payments. Another way to dig out of your mortgage debt is to make extra payments towards the principal on your mortgage loan. By doing so, you will lower the overall mortgage.
If you can’t actually pay your mortgage, call your mortgage lender immediately. Ask about working out a payment plan or ask for a loan modification. You could consider selling your home if market conditions are strong and settling your debts. Of course, you need to make plans for new housing if you go this route.
Find Ccjs And Court Records Online
If you have a County Court judgment , or a Decree in Scotland, this will likely appear on your credit file for six years from the date of the judgement.
If you think you have a CCJ or Decree but it isnt shown on your credit file, you can check the public register operated by the Registry Trust at Trust Onlinefor a £6 fee.
If you have a CCJ discharge or Decree, the register will show the:
date of the judgement amount owed name of the court who issued the judgement
The register wont tell you the name of the creditor, but you can contact the court to find out these details.
If you find out about a judgement that you werent previously aware of, you should quickly take steps to deal with the CCJ and fully understand your options.
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What Is A Credit Score
A credit score is a number. It is based on your credit history. But it does not come with your free credit report unless you pay for it.
A high credit score means you have good credit. A low credit score means you have bad credit. Different companies have different scores. Low scores are around 300. High scores are around 700-850.
What Happens If You Don’t Pay A Debt Collection Agency
Ignoring debt can negatively affect your credit score, making it harder for you to borrow loans from other financial institutions. And when you qualify for a loan, you may have to pay high interest rates.
Debt collection agencies may escalate their efforts to recover the debt by filing a lawsuit against you. Therefore, if you receive a court summons and complaint from a debt collector, you need to file a response within a set time frame.
Failure to file a response gives the creditor an upper hand in the case. The creditor can go ahead and request the court to enter a default judgment against you. If the judge grants the creditor’s request, it means you’ll have no chance to tell your side of the story, and the creditor automatically wins the lawsuit.
Note that if a creditor wins a collection lawsuit, the court gives them the power to find legal means to recover their debt. For example, most creditors opt for wage garnishment, a legal procedure through which some of your earnings are withheld or sent directly to the creditor.
On the other hand, you have a chance to fight the case and even win it if you file a response to the court early enough. So whatever happens, don’t ignore the lawsuit even if you believe you don’t owe that debt.
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How To Deal With A Debt In Collections
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Have you found yourself with a debt in collections? If so, you’re likely to face calls from debt collectors seeking payment. But before you pay a dollar toward the debt, make sure you understand how this happens, the best way to resolve your account, and what this means for your credit.
Regardless of why your debt went into collections, its important to deal with the collection notice. If you dont, you could wind up in court.
Heres what to do if an unpaid debt goes into collections:
Paying Your Debt Once It Has Been Transferred To A Collection Agency
If the debt is yours and the amount is correct, paying the full amount you owe will resolve the issue.
When repaying your debt:
- always get a receipt for any payment you make
- only deal with the debt collector who contacted you to make payments
- dont contact the creditor that lent you money, as this might create confusion
If its not possible for you to pay the full amount:
- explain why to the debt collector
- offer an alternate method of repayment, such as monthly payments
- follow up in writing
- include a first payment to show your commitment to paying back the debt, if possible
The Debt Buying Industry
The debt buying industry has grown enormously. Many attribute the start of the industry to the savings and loan crisis of the late 1980s and early 1990s. In the 1980s, the government auctioned off for collection nearly $500 billion in unpaid loans that creditors had owned to the private sector, which profited from collecting on the debts. Seeing a new market niche, debt buyers thereafter began to purchase other kinds of debt as well.
Debt buyers are often financed in part by large national banks and Wall Street private equity funds. In other words, many of the credit card companies and banks that sell their old debt to debt buyers partially fund the debt buying industry.
There are believed to be hundreds of debt buyers operating in America today, including small regional companies, but the Federal Trade Commission estimates that the nine largest companies buy approximately 75 percent of the nations delinquent consumer debt.
What Does It Mean To Have A Debt In Collections
When you have a debt in collections, it usually means the original creditor has sent the debt to a third-party person or agency to collect it. Credit card debt, mortgages, auto loans and student loans are a few types of debt that can be passed on to a debt collection agency.
Most lenders will try to collect the debt themselves before resorting to writing it off and passing the collection to another party. Typically, past-due accounts wont be charged off and sent to collections until theyre 120 to 180 days late.
If you have debt thats past due and youve been contacted by someone who claims to be from a debt collection agency, be careful. There are scammers that masquerade as debt collectors.
Here are a few telltale signs that you could be dealing with a scammer instead of a legitimate debt collector, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Most importantly, dont rush to make payments to any debt collector if you dont recognize the debt theyre trying to retrieve. If youre worried that youre dealing with a scammer, ask for a company name and contact number. Then check with your original creditor to see which collector it has assigned the debt to .
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Contact A Credit Reporting Agency
You might have a credit report, which includes a credit score, created by more than one credit reporting agency. These are Equifax, Illion and Experian.
You can get a copy of your free credit report and credit score once every 3 months by contacting any, or all, of the credit reporting agencies listed below. You can also request a free credit report more often in certain circumstances.
The information in your credit report may vary depending on the agency. Its a good idea to start by requesting your credit report and credit score from the largest agency, which is Equifax.
Be aware that if you request your credit report, your current contact details will then become available to any lenders, creditors or debt collectors who check your report.
EquifaxComplete the online form here or call Equifax on 13 83 32.
IllionComplete the online form here or call Illion on 13 23 33.
ExperianComplete the online form here or call Experian on 1300 783 684