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What is ARstrat?

ARstrat, LLC is a debt collection agency based in Plano, Texas. They specialize in collecting on delinquent consumer debts, including credit card balances, medical bills, student loans, and other types of unsecured debts. If you’ve been contacted by ARstrat about a past-due balance, you may be wondering what your options are and how to handle the situation.First off, don‘t panic. It’s understandable to feel stressed when a debt collector comes calling, but you have rights and there are steps you can take to resolve the matter. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll break down everything you need to know about dealing with ARstrat and other debt collectors. We’ll cover your legal protections under federal and state laws, strategies for communicating with collectors, and options for getting out of debt once and for all.So pour yourself a cup of coffee, take a deep breath, and let‘s dive in. By the time you‘re done reading, you’ll be armed with the knowledge and confidence you need to take control of your debt situation. Trust me, you‘ve got this!

Your Rights Under the FDCPA

When dealing with debt collectors like ARstrat, it‘s crucial to understand your rights and protections under the law. The primary federal law governing debt collection practices is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).4 This law prohibits collectors from using abusive, unfair or deceptive tactics to collect on a debt.Under the FDCPA, debt collectors cannot:4

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  • Call you before 8am or after 9pm, unless you agree to it
  • Call you at work if you tell them you’re not allowed to get calls there
  • Harass you or anyone else they contact about your debt
  • Lie about the amount you owe
  • Falsely claim to be attorneys or government representatives
  • Falsely threaten you with legal action they don’t intend to take
  • Use obscene or profane language
  • Discuss your debt with anyone besides you, your spouse, or your attorney

If a collector violates your rights under the FDCPA, you can sue them in state or federal court within one year of the violation.4 If you win, the judge can require the collector to pay you damages, plus your court costs and attorney fees. Pretty sweet, right?Many states have their own debt collection laws that provide additional protections.4 For example, some state laws limit how often a collector can call you or prohibit them from contacting you on Sundays. If you think ARstrat or another collector may be breaking the law, look up your state’s specific debt collection regulations.

Communicating with ARstrat

Okay, so a debt collector is blowing up your phone. What should you do? First, take a moment to collect yourself. It‘s natural to feel defensive or even angry when confronted about a debt, but losing your cool will only make the situation worse.When ARstrat first contacts you, they’re required by law to send you a written “validation notice” within five days stating how much you owe, the name of the creditor, and what to do if you believe you don’t owe the debt.4 This is your chance to gather information and plan your next move.One option is to request that ARstrat only communicate with you in writing going forward. Under the FDCPA, if you send a written request to cease phone calls, the collector must honor it (though they can still contact you by mail).4 This can buy you some breathing room while you figure out how to proceed.If you do choose to speak with an ARstrat representative over the phone, keep detailed notes of your conversations, including the date, time, name of the person you spoke with, and what was discussed.1 If the collector agrees to any payment arrangements or other terms, be sure to get it in writing before sending them a dime.Throughout the process, stay calm and professional. As tempting as it may be to tell the collector where to stick it, antagonizing them will only hurt your case. Remember, they’re just doing their job (even if they sometimes go about it the wrong way). By keeping your cool and standing firm, you’ll be in a much better position to negotiate a favorable outcome.

Verifying and Disputing the Debt

Just because a debt collector says you owe money doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true. Mistakes happen all the time in the world of consumer debt. Maybe your account was mixed up with someone else’s. Maybe you already paid off the balance years ago. Or maybe the debt is so old that it’s no longer legally collectible (more on that later).That’s why it’s so important to verify any alleged debt before agreeing to pay. Under the FDCPA, you have the right to request validation of the debt in writing within 30 days of being contacted by the collector.4 Once ARstrat receives your request, they must provide you with written verification of the debt, including the creditor’s name and the amount owed, before resuming collection efforts.4If ARstrat can’t or won’t provide proper validation, you may be able to get the debt removed from your credit report or even sue the collector for violating the FDCPA. However, be aware that in some cases, requesting validation can restart the clock on the statute of limitations (the legal time limit for the collector to sue you for the debt).3

What if ARstrat does validate the debt, but you still don’t think you owe it? In that case, you can file a dispute with the collector stating that you disagree with their claim. Under the FDCPA, the collector must then cease collection efforts until they provide you with verification of the debt or a copy of a court judgment against you.4You can also dispute the debt directly with the credit bureaus reporting it on your credit report. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires the bureaus to investigate your dispute and remove any inaccurate or unverifiable information, usually within 30 days.2

Statute of Limitations on Debt Collection

One important factor to consider when dealing with old debts is the statute of limitations – the legal time limit for a creditor or collector to sue you for an unpaid debt. Once the statute of limitations expires, the debt is considered “time-barred” and you can no longer be successfully sued for it (though collectors may still try to pressure you into paying).3The statute of limitations varies by state and type of debt, but is typically between three and six years for most consumer debts like credit cards and medical bills.3 In some states, the clock starts ticking from the date of your last payment, while in others it’s from the date of your first missed payment.If you‘re unsure whether a debt is time-barred, you can ask the collector for the date of your last payment or check your state’s laws on debt collection time limits. Be careful though – in some states, making a partial payment or even acknowledging that you owe the debt can restart the statute of limitations.3If ARstrat or another collector tries to sue you for a time-barred debt, you can raise the expired statute of limitations as a defense in court. You‘ll need to show proof of the debt’s age, such as old billing statements or a copy of your credit report. If the judge agrees that the debt is indeed time-barred, they will likely dismiss the case.However, just because a debt is time-barred doesn‘t mean it will disappear from your credit report. Most negative marks, including collections, can legally remain on your credit for up to seven years from the date of first delinquency.2 After that, they should automatically fall off your report.

Settling the Debt vs. Paying in Full

If you do end up owing the debt, you generally have two options: pay the full amount claimed by the collector, or try to negotiate a settlement for less. Paying in full will resolve the debt entirely and may help your credit score recover faster. However, many people simply don’t have the means to pay off their full balance all at once, especially if the debt has been accruing interest and fees for months or years.That’s where debt settlement comes in. In a settlement arrangement, you agree to pay the collector a lump sum that is less than the total amount owed, and in exchange they agree to consider the debt satisfied.1 For example, if you owe $5,000, you might offer to pay $2,500 to settle the account.Debt collectors are often willing to settle because they bought the debt from the original creditor for pennies on the dollar.1 So even if you pay less than the full balance, they can still turn a profit. However, be aware that settled debts can stay on your credit report for up to seven years and may be taxed as income.1To start the settlement process, you can either contact ARstrat directly or work with a reputable debt settlement company or attorney. Be prepared to provide documentation of your financial hardship and to negotiate firmly but realistically. A good rule of thumb is to start by offering around 30% of the total debt and work your way up from there.1If you do reach a settlement agreement, be sure to get the terms in writing before sending any money. The written agreement should clearly state the agreed-upon settlement amount, the date by which it must be paid, and that the rest of the debt will be forgiven once the settlement is complete. Keep this document for your records in case any issues arise down the road.

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