The world of debt collectors is one that most people would prefer not to worry about. Discomfort, anxiety and even fear are often associated with debt collectors. Sometimes, the scariest aspect of debt collection actually lies in a lack of understanding. Here are a few important terms to know when dealing with collection agencies.
- Debt buyer – A company that purchases delinquent or charged off debts from creditors for a smaller monetary value. The debt buyer can then turn around and collect part or all of the debt from the person that owes it. These debt buyer companies are often collection agencies and law firms.
- Lien – A way of granting an asset as collateral to guarantee that a debt will be paid off. This can be consensual or nonconsensual. Common liens involve homeownership or moving. A lien can be placed on a person’s mortgage to serve as a guarantee that a debt will be paid. A mover’s lien happens when someone is moving, as a way to guarantee that they will get their possessions in return for paying their debt. Liens can be dangerous if they are not properly taken care of.
- Garnishment – The most common type of garnishment is garnishing one’s wages. This means collecting a portion of someone’s wages to pay off some sort of debt. A court order can demand wage garnishment. This setup will continue until the whole debt is paid off, or other reliable arrangements are made to pay the debt. Money can be taken directly from the payroll of an employee in this process.
- Dunning – This is a blanket term for any sort of communication that takes place in the interest of collecting a debt. It can be as innocent as a friendly telephone reminder and as intimidating as a threatening visit to one’s home. Not all forms of dunning are legal. Regulations of dunning vary from country to country.