You’ve become one of the scores of U.S. residents who has gotten into debt trouble. And on top of that, you’re being barraged by collectors who, no matter your circumstances, want you to pay up. Well, you may or may not owe but you still have rights. Here’s how to handle collection calls from MRS Associates, one of the most prominent – and persistent — collectors out there.
What is MRS Associates?
The company touts itself as an “account receivables management company,” which is a fancy way of saying “debt collector.” Its headquarters is in Cherry Hill, N.J. and it purchases delinquent accounts from banks as well as consumer and auto finance companies, credit unions and commercial retailers. One of the nation’s largest collection agencies, MRS Associates also tracks down overdue student loans.
How to Cope with Collection Calls
Such calls – and letters or texts, for that matter – are unnerving. But you needn’t be intimidated. After all, if you don’t have it, you don’t have it, right? But more than that, collection agencies such as MRS Associates are bound by business practices they’re supposed to follow. And if they don’t, they need to be reminded of what the rules are. Here’s some advice about dealing with collectors:
- Keep a record of all correspondences. If the calls and letters are coming, they won’t stop until you act. Make sure you save every document. Take note of every phone call. Write down the representative’s name, the time and length of the conversation, the phone number the rep called from, and the rep’s name. And date and make a note about the nature of all phone discussions.
- If you don’t want to speak with a collector, send a written request that all communication with you ceases.
- Don’t give an MRS debt collector any personal data; let whatever info the collector has suffice. You also shouldn’t commit to pay or make a “good faith” payment, and you shouldn’t even own up to owing the debt. What you want to avoid is giving the collector access to your cash or restarting the statute of limitations – the timeframe during which a debt is valid.
- You should know your rights. The federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act restricts what debt collectors can and cannot do. For example, they can’t phone you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. They can’t call you at work if you ask them not to. They also can’t use harassing or threatening language toward you or discuss your debt with others.
- Validate the debt. If MRS Associates is calling about a years-old debt, first, find out whether the debt is really yours. If it is, learn what the statute of limitations is in your state regarding collections. In general, the statute starts with your last payment. However, it can also be the date you used the account last, promised to pay, signed off on a payment agreement, or conceded that you owe.
To find out about the statue of limitations in your state, you might want to contact your state’s attorney general’s office. If the statue of limitations has expired, the MRS Associates or the original creditor might still sue you. If that happens, you’ll have to use the statue in your defense.
- Review your credit reports. Get a copy of from all the major credit reporting bureaus to see whether someone opened credit or took out a loan in your name. You could be a victim of identity theft.
Now you know how to handle collection calls from MRS Associates or any collector, for that matter. Knowledge is power. Once you understand what collectors can and can’t do, you’ll have a major say in what transpires.