Having accounts in collections can be devastating to your credit. As such, your first priority should be settling any debts that collection agencies have gotten ahold of. If that isn’t an option for you yet, you may find yourself avoiding a lot of calls and letters. After all, what can a debt collection agency do if you can say you’ve never heard from them? What happens if debt collectors can’t find you?
Alternative Points of Contact
One of the first things that collection agencies will do in order to get ahold of you is to get in touch with people close to you. Collectors are allowed, in most states, to contact you family, neighbors, or even your employer. While they can’t disclose any information about your debt, or even that you owe one, having your employer get a call from a collections agency can send the wrong message.
For every second that your account stays in collections, it will be tanking you credit. Not only will your score suffer, but most finance companies will automatically disqualify you for any new credit as long as the problem remains. This is probably a good thing, because having an account in collections means that you probably don’t have the means to make payments just yet. So, if collectors can’t find you and get you to pay, you will have an essentially useless credit profile.
Your Debt Changes Hands
Just like the original institution that sold your debt to a collector, that collector can sell your debt again. If it becomes too much trouble, or isn’t worth enough to sue over, collectors will sometimes sell debt amongst eachother. This doesn’t really affect you unless the new agency has a more aggressive strategy in settling your debt, or may be less inclined to make a deal. So, if you aren’t having trouble with your current debt collector, don’t think that you’re safe from a more aggressive one taking over in the future.
If you legally owe a debt, and a collector has the right to collect on it, you can be sued. If they can’t find you to settle the debt, you really leave them no choice. Debt collections agencies can be pretty predatory, and the negative ramifications of a lawsuit in your life don’t typically concern them. If they win a lawsuit, they could legally garnish your wages or your current held assets in order to settle the debt, depending on where you live. This is the primary reason that you need to take care of accounts in collections.
Maybe They’ll Leave You Alone (Probably Not)
This is more of a fantasy outcome, the one that most people are hoping will happen when they start ducking collections calls. The odds of this happening are very small, but they aren’t non-existent. If your debt is really small, there is a chance that a collections agency just loses track, or doesn’t find it worth the trouble. With small accounts like these, they can’t find anyone to buy debt worth so little. It is important not to count on this, though, because it really is a fairy tale ending. Most likely, if your are delinquent long enough, you will get sued if the agency has the right to do so.
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