What Are Your Rights When Deep in Debt?

When you’re deep in debt, your next move is not always clear. Obviously, you’d love to snap your fingers and find yourself “out of the red,” so to speak. But it’s easier to rack up debt than it is to repay it, so many people find themselves in a limbo state, wondering what to do next. Finding yourself here can be stressful, to say the least—and that’s before you add in the incessant contact from debt collectors.

Seeing as credit card debt is at a record high—the average American has a balance of $6,375, an increase of 3 percent over 2017—you’re certainly not alone in feeling this way if you do. You may find yourself wondering about your own rights when you’re deep in debt.

Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind so you can look out for yourself while navigating the process of repayment, however you choose to do so.

Addressing Your Debt

The only way to truly end collection efforts is to get out of debt. It’s important not to lose sight of this fact. While understanding your rights as to maintain healthy boundaries can help you stay motivated and avoid excess stress, it doesn’t address the root of the issue.

First, make sure you have a clear understanding of the amount and nature of your debts. Then settle on a repayment strategy or combination of methods. For example, consumers with substantial credit card debt may choose an option like debt settlement through an organization like Freedom Debt Relief because they’re already facing credit score damage and regular collection calls as is. This entails paying into a special bank account instead of sending money to creditors while amassing enough to negotiate a lower balance due.

Yet others decide to pursue a do-it-yourself approach to debt relief. However, this journey may still be paved with plenty of calls and letters from collectors. No matter which option you choose, it’s still helpful to know your rights along the way as you work toward repayment.

Dealing with Debt Collectors

Do you feel like flipping over your cell phone when you see an unknown number pop up? Does checking the mail require a pep talk in front of the mirror these days? Dealing with communications from debt collectors—some of which feels like it’s bordering on harassment—can make handling your debt that much more difficult.

But the good news is that you still have rights, even if you’re deep in debt. According to the Federal Trade Commission, here are a few consumer rights as protected by law:

Debt collectors cannot call before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.

Debt collectors cannot swear, threaten violence or otherwise harass you.

Debt collectors must be honest about who they are.

Collectors cannot ask you to pay fictional debts.

Collectors cannot tell others, like your spouse or lawyer, about your debt.

Collectors cannot threaten arrest or deportation due to debt.

So, while picking up the phone and connecting with a debt collector can be anxiety-inducing, a legitimate collector will not engage in any of the aforementioned illegal activities. As U.S. News & World Report writes, “The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act prohibits collection agencies from being abusive, harassing or deceptive when collecting on a loan.” If you believe a collector has crossed a line, stand firm and remember your rights. Then report it to the Federal Trade Commission.

No matter how deep in debt you are, you still have certain rights as a consumer. Ask plenty of questions so you can ensure the legitimacy of whoever is contacting you. Make sure you’re wary of scammers, too.

Save Money On Your Next New Build

If you are someone who likes to make money in the world of real estate, then you will already be aware that there are many ways to do that. No matter what kind of experience you do or do not have, shifting properties can be extremely lucrative – whether you are buying to let, or – as is becoming more and more common – building new properties from scratch. For the latter option, there are a lot of considerations to take on board, as well as many possible ways of saving money which you might want to consider. As long as you take these on board, you should be able to ensure that your venture is as profitable as possible.

Equipment

When you are building a new home, one of your major expenses is definitely going to be the equipment and tools that you use, so it makes sense to try and save money in this area, as much as you possibly can. One particularly useful way of saving money here is also remarkably simple: you just need to make sure that you are taking your time to compare the various suppliers. This act of shopping around, although basic, will help you to save a lot of money in the long run, so you shouldn’t overlook it if at all possible. You will find that there are certain different suppliers for different pieces of equipment, such as one ideal supplier for excavators and another for diggers or scaffolding. Shopping around is the only way to ensure that you end up with the best possible price for all of the individual components. You might want to start shopping around early, as this is likely to make a noticeable difference.

Land

It goes without saying that you need a decent piece of land to build on, otherwise you won’t be able to get very far with your project. But finding affordable land is notoriously difficult, and yet land is going to be one of the major expenses you need to work around for a more cost-effective build. If you are keen to save money on land, then the best way to do so is to play around with the location a little. There is little you can do about the cost of land, and it is not something you can easily haggle, but what you can do is look for less popular and less central locations, in the hope that the available land in those places will be considerably cheaper. Do this right, and you won’t be disappointed – it will be cheaper, and your whole project will be much easier to get off the ground, as you can divert resources to the actual building of the structure itself.

Furnishing

Even at the very beginning of the project, you need to start thinking about some of the latter elements of the build. Interior design is a hugely important one, by way of example. You will probably want to make sure that you spend some quality time on sourcing the best furnishings you can afford, and you will find that there are plenty of ways of making sure that you save a lot of money here too. If you go to thrift or charity stores, you should be able to find a decent amount of furniture on the cheap, and it will probably help you hugely if you use those resources primarily.

Not A Job For The Plumber: Surviving A Data Leak

Data has become a very important resource over the last few years. There are companies out there which are valued entirely based upon the amount of data which they hold, with companies like Instagram clocking in at millions of dollars simply because they have a large subscriber base. Of course, your small business may not be quite on this level, but this doesn’t matter when it comes to data; you have to follow the same rules. To give you an idea of the critical nature of this area, this post will be exploring some of the work which can be done to survive the chaos of a data leak.

Shifting Liability: Being personally liable for a data leak isn’t something you want to go through. Having a business properly registered will enable you to avoid this, keeping you out of trouble and leaving the focus on your company. If you fail to do this, you may need to help of a criminal lawyer like Duffy Law, as this sort of case will often go to court. There are very few reasons to keep a sole proprietorship when you are collecting user data.

Reporting The Leak: Once you have a leak occur, the first step to take is reporting it. Most regions have their own regulatory bodies which monitor and keep control over data leaks on the internet. They are much kinder when companies are honest about their mistakes, and you can often avoid fines if you manage to get to them quickly enough. While this may seem counter-productive, it’s a very serious offence to hide an issue like this.

Making Users Aware: You’ve probably had emails from services you’ve used in the past warning users about data leaks which they have experienced. This isn’t done as a simple gesture, as it can be crucial to people to know that their passwords, emails addresses, and bank information could be in the wrong person’s hands. This is best done over email and through social media, ensuring that as many people see it as possible.

Plugging The Leak: Finally, as the last part of this, it’s time to think about plugging the leak. In most cases, this will have to be done with the help of a developer and security company. You will have to be able to prove to both the regulators and your customers that you are fully secure if you want to improve your reputation and do business in the future. Of course, though, it’s essential that you go for a long-term fix.

Data leaks aren’t the end of the world when they are handled correctly. When businesses try to cover them up, though, huge fines can come with them, and this will hurt a company in a big way. Thankfully, modern technology and proper training makes it possible to avoid issues like this entirely. To learn more about this, it is worth doing some research for yourself, as there are loads of different options out there which can be used to help you to learn about this area.