On Your Side Alert: Debt Collection Myths

Published: Jul. 31, 2013 at 3:44 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 1, 2013 at 1:23 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - If you have an outstanding or delinquent debt, you're not alone. Millions of Americans have accounts in collection. For many, debt collection is a dirty term, but you shouldn't fear every call. Collection experts say there are some myths you need to know about.

Bruce Klinger, with Fidelis Asset Management is in the business of collecting debt, he knows he's not usually the most popular guy in the room. "I have done it for 23 years. I have gotten used to that negativity towards it. I can tell a lot about a person from their reaction towards hearing I am involved in debt collections," he says.

Klinger says debt collection calls happen to more people than you think. It can be an overwhelming process, but he says paying is the right thing to do and is healthy for the country's credit based economy.

He's convinced most people want to repay their debt and sometimes just need a little reminder. He warns though, make sure to get confirmation in writing and confirm the debt is yours.

"There are scams out there. No doubt about it and that is what you want to protect yourself as a consumer on. This is where you need to be asking the right questions to the person you are speaking with," he explains.

If you're on the debt collection list, there are few myths experts want to dispel.

Myth #1: Avoiding the Debt Collector makes the debt go away.

"It will make it worse because then you are looking at possibly a negative rating on your credit score. You could be looking at lawsuit against you," Klinger explained.

Myth #2: Consumers don't have rights. Klinger says the Debt Collection Agency is one of the most regulated industries in the U.S. and consumers are protected by state and federal laws.

Myth #3: All debt collectors are bad.

"There are the bad apples out there and that is why you have organizations like ACA and VCA to do their best to educate and to bring forth the different types of laws and regulations," he said.

Myth #4: This is prime season for Debt Collectors.

"I have seen economies up and down and one thing about the collection industry, is that it has always been steady." Klinger said.

The next time your phone rings, answer with confidence and when it comes to your debts, remember it's money you owe, just know your rights when you repay.

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