Dealing with debt collection agencies? Know how to tackle them.
If you have not paid your credit card bills on time or missed your personal loan payment, it is likely that pretty soon the lender will have a collector call you. If you miss making the payment 2-3 months continuously then you may have a collector come to your home or office. Sometimes such calls or visits can be very harassing and traumatic experience. Despite RBI’s regulations on code of conduct and ethics and Debt Recovery Agency circulars, collection calls at times changes from cordial to abusive.
The following points provide you with the knowledge to deal with collection calls. We provide you with your rights and things you can do to ensure you are able to handle collection calls.
Please note, it is important to continue to maintain prompt payments. Any failure to pay will severely impact your credit rating and any legal recourse.
When Collector Calls
Ensure the call does not come from a mobile number. Always note down all phone numbers from collection agencies. With caller ID’s available you can easily do this. Further you can call back and confirm if the number indeed belongs to the card company or its agency. Note down the name, date and time of call.
Fixing an appointment
When collector calls you to fix an appointment, please ensure you provide a time and place which is convenient to you. Also ensure you have someone with you who can witness your payment.
Approved Time of calling
As per RBI rules, no bank or its agent can call you before 7 AM and after 7 PM. Hence in case someone calls you outside of this time period, you can complain to the bank or the grievance cell.
Check for ID
When the collector comes to pick up cheque or cash, first ask him to produce an ID card. All collectors are issued an ID by the bank which has a validity date and also a photograph of the collector.
Make Cheque Payments
It is recommended to make all your payments by Cheque. This ensure you have an additional evidence of payment which you get from the Bank Passbook or Statement. Cash is avoidable, though most banks provide you immediate credit for cash and wait for 5 days in case of cheque. From a long term perspective Cheque is always preferred. Also ensure you write the name of the bank and your Card or Loan account Number clearly. Never issue any blank cheques.
Bank Statement or Letter
In case you have agreed for a Settlement or Closure, additionally ask for documentation provided by the bank regarding the amount to be paid and the terms of such settlement or closure. Please read carefully the dates mentioned in the letter to confirm if these are as per your agreement.
Once you have paid the collector, ask for an original receipt. Most banks issue a receipt with hologram or other security features to establish the authenticity of such receipts. Ensure the account number, date, amount and time are captured correctly.
Filing and Record Keeping
Ensure you file all documents, correspondences, emails pertaining to an account together for future reference. Often we see banks do not post payments correctly or at times they end up reporting wrongly. Safe record keeping will help at a later date to resolve these issues.