At some point in your life, you’re likely going to incur some debt. Even if it’s so-called “good” debt – a mortgage or college loan, for instance. However, no matter what kind of debt it is, if you end up missing a payment or two, you’re on the precipice of trouble, if you’re not in it already.

The next thing you know, you’re getting calls and letters from creditors or debt collection types, who intend to get what they’re owed. And trust us, they will pull out all the stops. They may even do things that are illegal — if they can get away with it. And they likely can if you don’t know your rights. And you do have rights, your indebtedness notwithstanding.

Here are some things you can do when it comes to fighting aggressive creditors.

Lawyer Up

If you have the money, it will behoove you in the long run to hire an attorney who has experience in the debt collection space. The lawyer can apprise you of your options and represent you against aggressive collection practices; they aren’t cowed by them. Plus, your attorney will relieve you from having to deal with your creditors directly, as you make other moves to get yourself back on track.

Take Notes

If you can’t get a lawyer, or until you retain one, you’re going to continue to hear from creditors or collectors. Save all correspondences and record the date of every phone call. Also write down the name of the person you spoke with, as well as what was said during the call. You may need all this as evidence, and besides, taking these actions will help keep you organized.

Understand Your Rights

There is a federal law – the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act – that curbs what collectors can do to collect credit card debt or other kinds of obligations.

For example, the law bars creditors and collectors from calling you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. and prohibits them from contacting you at work if you’ve told them not to. The bottom line is that you do have rights when it comes to stopping creditors from calling. In fact, you can write and ask them to stop calling you altogether. Subsequently, the only contact permitted is for the purpose of telling you that there will be no further contact, or that you’re about to be sued.

Moreover, the people you owe may not harass you or use deceptive, abusive, or unfair practices to get you to pay your balance.

Don’t Ignore Your Debt

Ghosting on your creditor or collector will, at length, only make your problems worse, as the calls and letters will become more frequent. If you know your rights, by the way, you’ll be less inclined to hide from your creditors. You’ll also know how to fight back. If you deal with your situation head on, you may be surprised to learn that your creditor is eager to strike a deal.

Be Candid

It doesn’t help you to make payment promises that you can’t keep. In fact, that will only worsen your situation. If you cannot pay, say so, then be honest about when you might be able to pay. Often, all you must do to get a creditor to back up is to be up front about your circumstances.

Do a Lot of Writing

If you need your debt validated, write. If you’d like a payment plan, write. If you have issues under FDCPA, write. Doing so makes things official, and guards against creditors who suddenly have amnesia about what was agreed to in a phone call. Make sure you keep copies of your written requests.

Ultimately, fighting aggressive creditors can feel like combat. We understand. It’s bad enough to be behind on your bills, now you must deal with people who, if you let them, will run roughshod over you. Employ the steps above to assert yourself and take control of your financial future. If your issues are acute, you may want to contact Freedom Debt Relief, who can help you clear your obligations through debt settlement.