Can Collection Agencies Charge More Than You Owe?

The first call from a collection agency can be terrifying. If you owe several collectors, you may even avoid answering your phone. Being in debt and facing collection is already stressful. However,  particularly aggressive agencies may leave you worried after you hang up. You might even be asking yourself whether collection agencies charge more than you owe. If you have been contacted by a debt collector, begin by learning your rights.

Can Collection Agencies Charge More Than You Owe?

Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)

If you feel that a debt collector is being overly aggressive or crossing legal boundaries, you need to familiarize yourself with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The FDCPA passed into law in 1978 to protect consumers at the federal level. Most states have their own laws regulating debt collection practices as well.

In layman’s terms, this piece of legislation limits what actions collection agencies can take against you. First, debt collectors are only allowed to contact you once a day between the hours of 8:00 AM and 9:00 PM. Second, debt collectors must identify themselves when they try to collect what is owed. They must also let you know that any information you give them can be used to aid in collecting the debt. When asked, collection agencies must also provide their company name and contact information. This is especially useful if you are unsure about legitimacy of the company. Check with your state’s attorney general or the consumer affairs office if you have doubts.

During the call, they cannot use harassing language or threats. It is also illegal for the debt collector to contact a third party about your debt unless it is a spouse or guardian. The FDCPA also prohibits the use of social media and questions beyond where you live, work, and your phone number. Finally, if you feel there has been a mistake, you have 30 days to dispute debts once you have been formally contacted.

What are the Collection Agencies Limitations?

Despite the clearly defined terms in the FDCPA, you will still hear testimonies that collection agencies charge more. However, you should take these statements with a grain of salt. Debt collectors must adhere to the terms and conditions you agreed to in the original contract. This is particularly important when it comes to interest rates and fees.

If the contract does not specify a late fee, then you should not see any appear once the collection agency has bought your debt. The bottom line is that the collection agencies cannot charge more than you agreed to pay. The regulations are in place to prevent collectors from vindictive practices and racking up charges if you do not answer the phone.

When Can Collection Agencies Charge More?

The discrepancies in the amount of debt come from applied interest rates. Most loans clearly define interest charges, fees, and penalties in the Truth in Lending Disclosure. Unfortunately, credit cards become a gray area due to variable APR rates. If you read the fine print, there are no set interest rates in the card agreement.

Most collection agencies will not add additional interest or fees once the account is frozen. Adding more fees and interest only increases their losses.  Furthermore, they must send monthly statements if they apply interest after the account has been frozen. Be sure to check your mail if you believe a collection agency is charging you more than is due. If you have not been notified, you may be able to dispute it.

Debt collection agencies are allowed to apply contract fees and interest rates within the statute of limitations, which is ten years. Although is it not usual practice, third-party collectors may charge more than you owe once they purchase your debt. But, it is problematic for collection agencies to add interest charges because it is difficult to prove in court.

After a Collection Agency Contacts You

If you see an inaccuracy or believe you have been charged too much, check your credit report. This will not only tell you the debts you owe, but how old they are. This may be to your benefit if your debt is outside the statute of limitations. Knowing your rights and owning your debt will help you deal with collection agencies. If you feel like it is beyond your control, contact a debt relief agency to see what options are available to you.

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7 Alternative Traveling Jobs for People Who Love to Travel

Traveling Jobs for People Who Love to Travel

Vacation is a great time to travel. But, sometimes it feels too short and is not enough to satisfy your wanderlust. If you have a serious taste for exploring new areas but not enough funds to do it regularly, there is a solution. Traveling jobs are a great way to support yourself when you have itchy feet. Not to mention, there are many different types of opportunities and options.

Whether you are needing to spice up your life or want to change your career altogether, here are some traveling jobs worth checking out for people who love to travel.

7 Traveling Jobs to Consider

1. Teacher/Nanny

So, you love kids, and you’re bilingual? Why not become an Au Pair or teacher in a different country? With a college degree and a TEFL certificate (Teaching English in a Foreign Language), you can teach English in a variety of locations. There are also TEFL course programs you can do abroad. They give you a taste of what to expect while also introducing you to a new country.

With technology making education easier to access online, you’ll have even more options.  In addition to online programs, there are also virtual teaching options. Furthermore, you can even take online classes yourself while completely immersing yourself in the country’s culture. Many universities now offer remote learning and online degrees. Moving abroad will open doors and new opportunities for traveling jobs.

2. Digital Nomad

This term was coined for those who work remotely. These types of job have become even more readily available in 2020 as companies restructure for their existing employees. If you have an online business, you can also build it up so you can work from anywhere in the world. Work as a digital nomad includes but is not limited to: freelance writing, translation, web design, social media management, or affiliate marketing.

3. Athletic Recruiter

Sports enthusiasts will likely find great enjoyment from a job as an athletic recruiter. Not only do you get to travel to schools across the country, but you also get to attend sporting events. The admission to events is free and also part of your responsibilities. Not a bad gig for sports fans, huh?

4. Auditor

If you are an accountant needing some excitement, becoming an auditor may be an excellent option for you. Auditors may not usually go to exotic locations, but they do travel across the country examining businesses. This traveling job provides more stability and consistency than other options while still giving you a taste of life on the road.

5. Tour Guide

Being a tour guide, particularly internationally, is an excellent way to travel for work. If relocating to a different country to work as a tour guide, you first need to know what certifications and visas are required. It is also a good idea to learn the language and familiarize yourself with the culture and customs. Even though you are catering to tourists, you want to have a good relationship within the local community.

6. Bartender

For those with an open schedule and some nightlife experience, bars and clubs worldwide are always seeking bartenders. This is especially true in touristy hot spots. Whether you want to go overseas or simply across the country, there are a variety of options as a bartender to travel to a new location for a while. Depending on your talents and the type of bar, bartenders can also make quite a bit of cash.

7. House/Pet Sitter

Another option you probably never considered was house sitting or pet sitting. This traveling job is precisely what it sounds like. Home owners post listings on house sitting websites to get matched with caretakers. In exchange, you get free accommodations and complete privacy in a locale of your choosing. These jobs can last a few weeks or turn into a long-term arrangement. It also provides the unique opportunity to experience your travel destination through the eyes of a local resident.

Considerations for Traveling Jobs

With the right skills, you can make traveling a part of your job requirements. Moving to a new location can be a very difficult, yet rewarding decision. However, it’s important to note that not all traveling jobs will pay well, and these professions still involve work and dedication. Depending on how much you want to make traveling a part of your career will depend on how much behind the scenes you will need to do.

Do you travel for a living? What kind of traveling jobs have you done or would like to do?

Also, if your doing good with the traveling job, don’t forget to save. Acorns is a perfect way to save money using spare change. Check them out.

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Best Online Forums About Saving Money

The first rule of personal finance is to spend less than you make in order to save. However, making financial decisions and lifestyle changes that impact your future can be overwhelming. This is especially true if you do not feel well informed or have never been taught. If you are feeling out of your depth, here are some of the best online forums about saving money. Not only will they point you in the right direction, but they will also provide community support to help you achieve your financial goals.

The Best Online Forums About Saving Money

Best Online Forums About Saving Money

Finance Goal 1: Budgeting to Save Money

Frugal Village

The Frugal Village is one of the best online forums about saving money and budgeting. You can delve into topics about how to transform your lifestyle and spending habits. The forum allows you to browse through dedicated topics and blogs or read up on the latest savings challenges. You can even join other members in taking on one of them with the support of the entire forum behind you. It offers motivation and advice to keep on the right track.

Finance Goal 2: Building Your Savings

Tip Yourself Savings App

One frequent piece of advice about budgeting is cutting out unnecessary daily expenses. While this is solid advice, it can be difficult to maintain discipline to build your saving. However, the Tip Yourself app creates a fun way to save money by making it into a game of sorts. Instead of buying morning coffee or splurging on things you don’t need, the apps allows you to pay yourself instead. You can watch your money accumulate in your personal tip jar and encourage others who are doing the same. It is a fun and alternative way to spur your savings plan into high gear.

Finance Goal 3: Paying Off Debt

Money Savings Expert

This is a very diverse and active forum that covers many financial topics. In particular, their Debt Free Wannabe has a wealth of knowledge aimed to help you pay down your debts. When you join this community, you become part of a network of like-minded people all working towards the same goal. When you have the support of an entire community, it makes the overall task of reducing debt less daunting.

Finance Goal 4: Saving Money for Retirement and Investing

Morningstar

Morningstar has a longstanding reputation as an excellent tool for investment research. Furthermore, the site’s rating system for stocks and mutual funds is universally known and utilized among the investing community. Not only is it a free research tool, but it is an excellent starting point for anyone who wants to learn more about investing strategies and the stock market. While you should seek out several sources, Morningstar is a prime resource to assist you with making major investment decisions.

Bogleheads

This oddly named forum takes its name from the founder of Vanguard, Jack Bogle. Bogleheads forums provide information and advice about long-term passive income. You can peruse through their quick links to read about trending topics or create your own threads. It is a convenient resource when making decisions about balancing your portfolio and allocating your assets.

General Advice Forums About Saving Money

Reddit – Personal Finance

When it comes to common sense advice on a broad range of topics, there is no better place than Reddit. You quickly receive down-to-earth advice in their friendly forums. This holds true even with the Reddit – Personal Finance forums. After you post your question, others who have expertise or experience with your specific situation will contribute helpful tips. While it may not be the first site you think of for financial advice, community members are very helpful in getting you the information you need.

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