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Debt is a common occurrence in developed nations. In fact, as the world continues to become more developed, many experts are pointing to a potential crisis, but that’s a story for another day.

Unfortunately, debt has a tendency of following borrowers around, in some cases, even after the full amount owed has been paid off. In fact, A research conducted by DebtConsolidation, shows that 39% of complaints about debt collection practices had to do with collectors looking to double dip on debts that had already been collected. So, what do you do if you’ve paid off your debt, but the collectors continue working to collect?

Start With A Simple Letter

For some, all it will take for collectors to stop calling is to send a letter. In the letter, explain that the debt has been paid off and provide any proof that you have to show that it has. You may not have the receipt or confirmation number. That’s O.K. Take a look at your bank statements, chances are that they have evidence of your payment. Also, write the collector that they are in violation of your rights and that you demand they cease all attempts to collect the debt. If not, you will take further action.

Once you have the letter written, make two copies. One for your records, and the other to be sent to the collector. Keep in mind that when sending the letter, it’s best to use registered mail to provide proof that not only it was sent, but it was received.

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Contact The Credit Reporting Agencies

Once the collector receives the letter you sent, chances are that the calls will stop. However, if they do not, you have further action that you can take. In particular, there are two actions to consider:

  • CFPB Complaint – If the collector continues to harass you in an attempt to get you to pay a debt that you don’t owe, it’s time to get serious. Submit a complaint with the CFPB. Of course, you will want to provide as much information as possible, giving the CFPB all they need in order to put pressure on the collector that is harassing you.
  • Consider Contacting An Attorney – Debt collectors that overstep their boundaries aren’t just annoying, they’re infringing on your rights. If they report to credit reporting agencies, there are financial implications that you do not deserve. You may want to consider contacting an attorney and turning the tables with regard to who owes who what!

Don’t Forget Your Credit

Even if you’re not considering a new loan at the moment, it’s important to keep your credit in mind. At the end of the day, extenuating circumstances can cause a need for immediate funds, and good credit can help get those funds. If a collector is harassing you with regard to a debt that you’ve already paid off, chances are they’re not just annoying you, they’re affecting your credit.

The good news is that the credit reporting agencies all give you a way to dispute inaccuracies. Once a dispute is waged, the agencies follow up with an investigation to figure out exactly what’s going on. When the evidence shows that you’ve paid the debt, the negative hit to your credit will be reversed, giving you the score that you deserve.

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Final Thoughts

When collectors attempt to collect on debts that are already paid, it can be disheartening, and some consumers will give in to the pressure, paying the debt twice. Don’t be one of them! You have a course of action and a way to fight back! All you have to do is start writing that letter!

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